January 7, 2021
American democracy came under siege yesterday, January 6th. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland joins many philanthropic organizations around the country in opposing to the actions of the mob that violently stormed the ultimate symbol of democracy, the U.S. Capitol. The First Amendment protects the right to peaceably assemble and to petition government for a redress of grievances. It does not protect those who planned, participated in and incited a mob to act with violence.
As we all take a step back and call for calm, today we should also resolve to hold violators accountable for their unlawful actions to prevent further outbreaks. In the spirit of our founding congregation, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, we turn our hearts to prayer to guide us all in the ways of peace. In a democracy, disagreement is natural. Debate is healthy. But violence and mob rule are unacceptable. In an era of so many diverse movements and perspectives, we must recognize that words matter. Thus, it’s incumbent upon our leaders to be more inclined to refrain from using language that will embolden individuals to allow rage to override reason.
We know many are watching the news, monitoring social media and sharing our dismay. We encourage you to also share our hope and share our commitment to action toward a just democracy. There are many factors beyond our control, but there are likely some – that foundations like ours – must play a long-term role in addressing: Health. Housing. Education. Economic inclusion and opportunity. Civic engagement. Civil discourse. Bridging divides. Promoting justice and understanding. Battling intolerance and structural racism.
We do not work in a vacuum. We recognize that the pandemic and racial justice reckoning have provided a backdrop and context for our work, and now so too will the unfortunate events that took place yesterday at the Capitol. These will all influence how we see the world and our strategic investments to advance an inclusive, engaged and equitable community where opportunities for growth and quality of life are shared by all.
It was shared that many Members of Congress were praying together as the Capitol was breached. In the spirit of our Sisters, we join together to pray for healing and unity for our country and for peace and justice to prevail. May we live each day holding ourselves and our organizations accountable to live out these important values.