January 2021 – Like all of you, this week I watched with outrage as our democracy came under attack. As unabashed white supremacists and seditionists stormed the United States Capitol with little police interference, I was struck by the stark contrast of images from last summer. People protesting systemic racism – and for their basic rights to live free from police violence – were met with rubber bullets, tear gas and worse. Meanwhile this week’s seditious actions were met with little to no resistance, leaving fear and destruction in their wake.
At Vital Voices, we work alongside women leaders fighting for just and equitable societies across the globe, including many who dedicate their lives to protecting fragile democratic institutions because they know the dire consequences when we don’t. Their messages of solidarity and empathy have poured in over the last 24 hours, reminding us of what’s at stake in this moment.
So while we demand accountability for the acts this week and stand firm in ensuring a peaceful transfer of power, we must also acknowledge the real-time display of the systemic racism and inequities that disproportionately harm Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. The deep-seated systemic injustices in this country that allow police violence to continue, disproportionately harm communities of color and fueled the acts of this week will not simply fade away as we enter a new year or on January 20th. They will persist – unless we all work together to dismantle them.
Vital Voices was founded 23 years ago to support and amplify the voices of women leaders tirelessly fighting for progress in their communities. With that same ideal, we will continue to stand alongside all of the activists who fight for a better future even in the face of barriers, violence and injustice. We hope you will do the same, and together, demand a more equal, equitable and just world for us all.
Co-Founder, President and CEO
Vital Voices Global Partnership