Statement on the January 6, 2021 Assault on Democracy
Quaker schools are committed to teaching students habits of heart and mind that insist upon a disposition of openness and respect for every member of our community regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, place of national origin, gender identity, or gender expression.
Over the past four years, Friends Council on Education has commented upon current events or action taken by either our national leaders or other citizens. We feel compelled to take a stand when we believe those actions or events do harm to members of our Friends school community and are antithetical to the core principles of Quakerism and what we aspire to as citizens in civil society.
On January 6, 2021, we witnessed an armed insurrection against our nation’s Capitol building; an insurrection led by individuals who chose to fly the flag of white supremacy and anti-Semitism in order to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from the current President to the duly-elected President Elect. The insurrection was characterized by violence, disregard for norms of good citizenship, and the use of language and symbols intended to do harm.
To draw on the words of Sidwell Friends School Head, Bryan Garman, “In the wake of political rancor, racist violence, and a devastating pandemic, we are called to remind our community and our children that words matter, respect matters, civility matters, democracy matters.” We are also called to affirm that every member of our larger Friends school community is beloved to us and that we are committed to creating environments not only of inclusiveness but of belonging.
Friends Council and our member school communities remain committed, now more than ever, to the qualities of citizenship and civil society that are driven by the Quaker practices of peace, integrity, equity and justice, community, and the nonviolent resolution of conflict. There is much work still to be done to turn hearts and minds toward becoming a society that is truly equitable and just. We seek a better world and cannot return to society as it was. We must, as the Quaker school community, move forward in courage and perseverance.
Friends Council on Education