Dean Colbert Issues Statement in Response to Capitol Riot

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In response to the violence at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, Soyica Colbert, Interim Dean of Georgetown College, Idol Family Professor and Professor of African American Studies and Performing Arts shared the following message:

On January 6, 2020, we witnessed a violent attempt to upend the democratic process. Echoing President DeGioia’s message, “These acts are reprehensible and have no place in our country.” The occupation of the capitol marked a low point in our national history but as with most crises the foundation for the breach had been laid years in advance. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has hosted several conversations about how the virus has exposed weakness in our healthcare system, justice system, and educational systems, including a discussion convened by the College. Similar to the pandemic, the appalling events yesterday demonstrate a pre-existing weakness, in this case, in our democracy. The unequal access to civic protections symbolized by the display of confederate flags during yesterday’s riot calls attention to much deeper fissures in our nation that we must redress. In a year filled with the loss of many taken for granted in different aspects of our lives, it was deeply disturbing to see such a blatant and criminal affront to our democratic ideals. 

As an institution of higher education, we must ground our work in the pursuit of truth and learn from the past in order to imagine and create more just futures. In the weeks and months to come, we will take time to consider our collective losses and how we will move forward. As a community we cannot attempt to rebuild, however, without acknowledging what we have lost and the structures in place that facilitated the crises. We then must hold ourselves and representatives accountable to the shared ideals that we aspire to realize. 

To the Georgetown College community, please continue to take care of yourself. If you need support, please see here for available resources. Our community shines brightest in its ability to help one another. 

Just as I believe in the promise of democracy, I believe in the ideals at the heart of our Georgetown community. Crises do not erupt without warning. Similarly, justice emerges through the cultivation of systems and structures. Together we will build more durable and just versions of our institutions based in truth, fairness, racial equity, and inclusion.

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