On January 6, 2021, the mob violence on Capitol Hill, forcing Congressmembers and hundreds of staff to evacuate, was both shocking and devastating. Appallingly, these domestic terrorists who trampled the halls of the U.S. Capitol were further emboldened by the poor law enforcement resistance they encountered along the way, demonstrating the double standard we have along racial lines.

We cannot be surprised by their lawless actions when they were publicly urged on by a sitting President of the United States. There should be real consequences, not just for the insurrectionists whose failed coup caused innocent lives to be lost, but also for a President who has gone rogue, and the elected leaders who aided and abetted him. If their actions are not punishable, then we are sending the wrong message to our children.

While January 6th will go down as one of the most infamous endings of a presidency in our country’s history, we can use this moment to teach our children that democracy is a lesson in the struggle to build a diverse and inclusive society and country. We cannot let January 6th define us as a nation. Our democracy has been threatened. We must stand united, roll up our sleeves, and do the hard work to prepare our students to become ethical participants in civic life. As educators and families, we cannot shy away from these challenging times, and the honest conversations with one another. Let us work together to awaken in our children the essence of equality and civil rights, and together boldly envision a society where hate or deception has no place in our hearts or spirits.