Confronting the Assaults on Our Democracy

January 7, 2021

Dear Legislators,

As we struggle to put into words our anger and grief at the attempted insurrection at both the U.S. Capitol and the attacks at many of your workplaces, we wanted to write a note of solidarity and concern. We are joining with other national organizations to demand accountability for all those involved–from the president to the state legislators in attendance—and for bold, transformative democracy reform that builds power for the people.

Let us be clear: yesterday’s attack on our country, on our people, and the very foundation of our democracy was brought on by a president who refuses to uphold our democratic institutions and accept that millions of us turned out to stand with and for each other. This direct assault is what treason looks like: an angry mob of armed white home-grown extremists who have heard loud and clear the direct and implicit invitations from the president to attack the U.S. Capitol and threaten our government, including the very Republican leaders complicit in the undermining of our democracy.

As legislative sessions begin this month and you step back into your own workplaces, we acknowledge that the attack on the U.S. Capitol was unfortunately not an aberration. Over this last year, we have all witnessed the increasing level of violence targeted at our state elected officials–from Michigan to Georgia to Kansas–emboldened and incited by the president himself.

This is an important time for each of you to familiarize yourself with the safety protocols of your capitol and to think about ways to protect your personal safety. This is especially true for Black, Brown, and women legislators who face additional threats on and offline. If you are unfamiliar with the safety protocols in your capitol (or if a rigorous safety protocol doesn’t yet exist), work with your legislative leadership to determine a plan.

These attacks happened because of the encouragement of some Republicans, and the silence of others, who spread lies about this election in order to undermine the will of the people and desperately attempt to hold onto power they clearly do not deserve. And these kinds of attacks, in your capitals and in Washington, will continue to happen unless and until they are forcefully stopped. Our republic is in danger. Every politician responsible, from the president to senators and house members to state legislators and state officials, who fed, fueled, and fomented these attacks must be removed or resign.

The work you do on the frontlines of governance is more critical than ever. True democracy requires integrity, resilience, and moral courage. We see you. We hear you. We stand with you. We may not be able to predict what will happen in the days, weeks, and months ahead, but we do know that the long arc of this work is rooted in building community–and we know you are doing that every day.

Take the space you need to grieve, to rage, to hold your loved ones close. The power of your leadership is rooted in your love for your communities and this country. What we all experienced yesterday is abhorrent. We cannot accept this as a new normal.

Let us know how you are, if you feel safe, and what you need–whether it be in the form of messaging, a conversation, or support for the particular situation in our state.

Thank you,
Jessie and Neha

State Innovation Exchange (SiX) Co-Executive Directors

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