A Statement from CSSP President Judith Meltzer on the Riots in the Nation’s Capital

Washington, DC (January 7, 2021)—The violence that took place yesterday in the nation’s capital, quite literally within the halls of Congress, defies description. Not since the War of 1812 have Americans witnessed a breach of the Capitol building and an attempt to wrest control of our democracy from its rightful stewards. Yesterday’s insurrection, which was incited by the president and his enablers, was shocking, abhorrent, and violated the foundational principles on which we have built our democratic nation.

At CSSP, we recognize the long and devastating history of White supremacy, racism, and discrimination in the United States and yesterday’s events brought that history sharply into view. The glaring differences between police treatment of yesterday’s extremists compared to their treatment of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters this past summer is a stark and painful example of how White supremacy dominates our nation. We, as a country, have a great deal of work ahead to repair the damage that has taken place over the last 24 hours and over the last four years. But one thing is clear—the time for this heinous behavior to stop is long past.

It is our shared responsibility to take every opportunity to dismantle our nation’s racist history and stand against present day actions. We must actively work to become anti-racist, to make our communities anti-racist, to enact policies that are anti-racist, to create equitable opportunities for all, and, ultimately, to tear down racist systems and rebuild them to be better and more equitable for all people. We cannot be silent. We must work together across communities and coalitions to denounce yesterday’s violence and to build a better, more just nation that values and protects the lives of every American so that every child, regardless of the color of their skin or their heritage, knows that they belong in this nation.

About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy is a national, non-profit policy organization that connects community action, public system reform, and policy change to create a fair and just society. We work to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children and families thrive by translating ideas into action, promoting public policies grounded in equity, supporting strong and inclusive communities, and advocating with and for all children and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices.