As a 19-year-old intern for a U.S. Senator, I watched the peaceful transfer of power from President Carter to President Reagan while crowding with others on the west lawn of the Capitol to watch the inaugural ceremony. Returning several years later to cover Congress as a reporter during the Bush and Clinton eras, I still remember trying to catch some sleep on a couch in the Senate press gallery late at night so I could be on hand to write about the passage of an important piece of legislation I’d been tracking for months. I was very pregnant then with my first child, a daughter who now works in Congress for a member of Colorado’s delegation.
Back then, I couldn’t have imagined what transpired today. Even when I return with our foundation leaders each year to visit our lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the layers of added security and barricades make the prolonged insurrection we all watched somewhat unthinkable.
But this is where we are. In an America where a mob of extremists can actually break into the Capitol thinking they can overthrow the results of a free and fair election – with the encouragement of a sitting president. In an America where journalists are threatened daily for trying to bring us the truth. In an America where peaceful protesters are met with military force and teargas for standing up for long overdue racial justice.
This is where we are. But it should not be who we are.
In the words of President-elect Joe Biden yesterday, “Enough is enough is enough.”
We stand with our colleagues and leaders across the state and the country in calling for change. We need to hold people accountable. We need to begin to heal our divides. We need to do more to create a world that is equitable and just. Our democracy and our future depend on it. Let's get to work.
--Joanne Kelley, CEO, Philanthropy Colorado