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January 8, 2021

CIRCLE strongly condemns Wednesday’s violent assault on our nation’s Capitol, which was perpetrated by white supremacists and aided and abetted by President Trump.

We are deeply concerned about various harmful impacts that these acts of domestic terrorism will have on young people and their engagement in civic life. We are especially concerned about the potential damage to the well-being and agency of Black and Indigenous youth and other young people of color, as mostly white rioters invaded the Capitol and, by and large, faced minimal resistance in contrast to the outsized (and often violent) response people of color face from armed officers when they take civic action. 

We stand in solidarity with educators across America who face the challenging but crucial work of teaching about and processing with young people this traumatic moment in our country’s civic and political life. As one of many necessary ways to address this democratic crisis, these events reaffirm our long-term commitment to shifting civic education to become more equitable and inclusive—so that all students receive the civic education they need in order to become empowered, informed and ethical participants in civic life. We call on educators to provide civic education that honors students' identities, experiences, and expertise; by cultivating a culture of inclusive and active civic engagement, and a deep sense of belonging for all starting in their own classrooms, we can all strive together for a more diverse and inclusive representative democracy.

We also call on everyone to have courageous conversations about differentiating between civic action that advances inclusive, more equitable communities and civic action that obstructs working toward this goal; as well as conversations about the ways discourse can be productive and ways discourse can cause harm. We have and will continue to have these conversations as a team at CIRCLE. 

We hope you will join us in supporting and amplifying educators and young leaders engaged in these efforts, and in listening to the experiences, voices and visions of young people. We will continue our reflections and planning, internally and with partners, on how our work can best meet this moment and better serve our enduring mission of supporting youth learning about and engaging in democracy.