Reflections on Violence at the Capitol

January 7, 2021

Dear all,

I am writing to be in touch during this unprecedented time in our history. It is hard to focus on work this morning as the images of last night are so unsettling. In the middle of carrying out the essential work of our democracy, the U.S. Capitol—the people’s house—was overrun with violence. Impossible to forget are the images of our elected officials crouched behind barricades, while rioters carried the Confederate flag inside the dome that has been an international symbol of our representative democracy.  And the response thus far by Capitol police and law enforcement leaves many unanswered questions.

If you are having difficult thoughts and feelings about this moment in time, you are not alone. It is understandable that we may be distracted and unsettled as now on top of a global pandemic and persistent racial injustices, we have experienced a violent insurrection. We are now living through a time of tremendous political instability that is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. 

You are invited to a Community Gathering in a Time of Political Unrest to share space with Vassar community members where we can talk, listen, process, and be together. All are welcome. The times will be today, Thursday, January 7th from 3pm to 4pm EST on Zoom (Meeting ID: 997 3016 1359; Passcode: 871295) and tomorrow, Friday, January 8th from 12pm to 1pm EST on Zoom (Meeting ID: 949 1143 0291; Passcode: 002438).

We have experienced and witnessed so much suffering and anxiety in the last year.  Still, I remain inspired by so many who have risen to the challenges and performed heroic acts—the record number of citizens voting, people running for office or other positions who are speaking truth to power in these dangerous times, communities fighting for equity and against police brutality, and of course the essential workers, health care providers, and public safety officials who have been working diligently throughout the pandemic. I also remember the voices and wisdom of those who have come before who have spoken so forcefully against violence, racism, and tyranny.

There is a path to better times. Let us be patient and generous with each other and ourselves. Please be sure to be in touch with family and friends, our faculty, or administrators and staff here at Vassar if we can be helpful. Even as we are so physically far away from each other for this winter break, may we draw strength and hope from our collective connection to Vassar.

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604