Letter from RPCV/W President Regarding the Insurrection- January 6, 2021

Dear RPCV/W Community,

I hope you are doing okay. 

From my heart to yours, I really do. 

But if you are not. That is okay too. All I can offer is grace and compassion. Take as much as you need; there is an ever-flowing supply. 

Last week we saw our home attacked by white supremacists. Live on TV, in our backyard. We saw triggering symbols of anti-Blackness, racism, antisemitism, and misogyny. Authorities treated the insurrectionists with far less force than we, our friends, and neighbors received in 2020 during the peaceful Black Lives Matter Protests in DC and across the country.

Many of us foresaw something like this occurring long before January 6th. Politicians, history, and systems in the United States have been fanning the flames of white supremacy since before the inception of this country, and more blatantly for the past four years every night on national television or from the oval office by way of a tweet. 

January 6 was a glaring reminder that we need to address white supremacy thoroughly from the inside out. Whether it shows its face in our community overtly, like the RPCV, who was interviewed by the news as a participant at the siege of the Capitol, or in the microaggressions in our everyday interactions with our friends in our host countries or with other members of the RPCV community. We can not afford -any of us- to continue hiding or sowing these seeds from inaction by fear of discomfort or whatever holds us back from doing the work. If some of these concepts are new to you, please reach out to [email protected] for resources, no questions asked. 

Our Washington DC community continues to be at risk. With the threat returning this weekend leading up to the inauguration, our neighbors’ safety is in jeopardy. The hospitality workers, the bus drivers, the staff at the capitol, the people who make DC the incredible city that it is, may have no choice but to interact with the danger. In the coming days, we must do what we can to protect our neighbors and stay out of harm’s way. 

Here are some ideas to tend to the community during this time:

  • Text INAUG2021 to 888-777 for safety and city updates from www.nixle.com
  • Check-in with your neighbors, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color who are more likely to be targeted by white supremacist extremists.
  • Order food from local restaurants that may lose business from early curfews or road closures. Tip well!
  • Turn off your computer. Just turn it off for a while.
  • Donate to organizations that protect the vulnerable in DC.
  • Send a love letter to DC or read some of the submissions about what makes this city home.

As it is said, “we keep us safe.” 

RPCV/W is here to support you and this community. With love and a resolve to put in the hard work, we can get through. 

With respect,

Jenna Smith RPCV/W President