General | January 7, 2021
PANO believes communities benefit when We, The People – all people – participate in an equitable, inclusive democratic process that includes free and fair elections like those held in November 2020. Democracy is core to achieving a Pennsylvania where all individuals reach their fullest potential.
We condemn the insurrection that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol yesterday. We commit to pursuing and maintaining civility centered on our values of accountability, bridge building, justice, respect, and risk taking.*
Yesterday was a dark day—for the United States and democratic societies everywhere. In addition to threatening our democracy, the attack gave more visibility to deep-seated racism. We witnessed the brazen breaking and entering, vandalism, and assumption of the Senate President’s chair. We witnessed the disparities in police response to this mob vs. the Black Lives Matter protests—including, but not limited to, the disproportionate number of resulting arrests in the immediate aftermath. We witnessed how long it took media representatives to shift language from “protesters” to “mob.” Centuries of white privilege and enforced inequality fed directly into yesterday’s events.
We must ask ourselves, “How did we contribute? What will it take for each of us to act now to achieve the equitable and just democracy needed for our country to thrive?”
A “simple” transfer of power will not magically solve the challenges ahead. Many saw this coming—as shocking as it was to watch. We have a history that we must own and contend with so that it does not own us. We, the People must ensure accountability for those who encouraged, engaged in, and allowed this overt behavior. We, the People must name the inequities that plague us and dismantle the supremacist culture that culminated in this catastrophe.
We, the People are the grace, compassion, and future of our democracy.
With hope for our future,
Beth Docherty, PANO Board Chair
Ifeoma Aduba, Chair, Strategic Planning Task Force
Anne Gingerich, Executive Director
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