The horrendous events of last week have brought us shock, sadness, disbelief and deep anger. As my teenage sons and I – and far too many young people across our nation – watched the horror unfolding before our eyes, and as we learned more harrowing details in the days following the attack on the U.S. Capitol, I thought about what our new President and CEO said in his statement following the events of January 6th: ‘Our children are watching.’ My boys and I watched as grown men and women, driven by falsehoods and racist ideology and fueled by four years of dangerous rhetoric, used violence and hate in an attempt to achieve a political goal.
All of this has happened as CDF-NY staff prepare for our annual Student Lobby Day, a time when we bring together our Beat the Odds Scholars, college navigators and alum to learn about the power of advocacy and the public policies that can make real changes in their lives. We equip our students with effective advocacy skills and embrace their power to hold their elected officials accountable for decisions and policies affecting their lives. Most importantly, we talk about the levers of democracy that allow us to have a voice in our government – peacefully, respectfully and without violence.
Our words – and actions – matter. Our children are watching. One day, they will become our leaders. What example are we setting for them?