The Northeast Regional Honors Council is founded in the celebration and perseverance of education. We believe it is part of our mission to address the events of the week as a lack of adequate education and trust in the institution of education contributed to these incidents.
The breach of the US Capitol on January 6th, incited by the standing President, was an attack on the one of the most precious and unifying tenets on which our country stands, our Democracy. While these events were terrifying, shameful and criminal, we take comfort in the fact that this vicious attack failed. What persevered was the essential work of our democracy. What persevered was that, in the words of newly elected Senator Warnock, the first Black Senator elected to Georgia, "the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else's cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator," along with the majority of Georgian voters. What persevered was the confirmation of our electoral process and the promise of a new direction for his country: one that celebrates our differences to unify, one that understands the power of words to inspire and empower and one that leads us towards liberty and justice for all. We can all agree that words matter. Body language matters. Leadership matters. As we move forward in 2021, we must ask questions. The NRHC Executive Board is hopeful that the circumstances that left our nation's Capitol vulnerable to attack will be investigated, that those who instigated the crime will be held accountable, and justice will be served.
It is our responsibility as citizens and scholars to take sides. Holocaust survivor and witness, Elie Wiesel once said: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe,” in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on Dec. 10, 1986.
May we continue to persevere in the search for answers and the truth. And to do so in a way that brings all of us together. It is what NRHC stands for and our continued quest for knowledge and faith in the system of education is a means to heal the fracturing of our republic.