|New York State Board of Regents
Betty A. Rosa
Interim Commissioner of Education
The State Education Department
The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 7, 2021
JP O’Hare or Jeanne Beattie
STATEMENT FROM VICE CHANCELLOR BROWN, THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND INTERIM COMMISSIONER ROSA ON YESTERDAY’S EVENTS
Yesterday will forever be remembered as a dark day in American history. We all witnessed a violent, lawless mob breach our nation’s Capital in an attempt to thwart the democratic will of the people. It was an assault on our democracy from an enemy within. The mob failed in its attempt, and Congress ultimately proceeded with its Constitutional duty to certify the results of the presidential election. As adults, we can understand and put into proper context the devastation we witnessed. But what did yesterday’s assault on our democracy mean to our children? How will they come to understand what happened? How will they process the images of a Confederate flag – that hateful reminder of another failed insurrection – being paraded through the halls of the Capitol? How will they be able to handle the emotional toll of yesterday’s violence and treachery on top of everything else they are trying to cope with in a year like no other?
Our schools can help. Teachers and counselors are there to remind our students they are loved and cared for, and there are resources available to help them deal with the pain they may be experiencing. Teachers are also there to explain to their students that we are so much better than this as a nation; that we will never solve our problems through violence. At the end of the day, members of the riotous mob were arrested or dispersed; Congress returned to its work; and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were officially certified as our next President and Vice President.
As dark as yesterday was, there was light too. Because in the midst of the all the carnage – at some point between the President inciting an angry mob to violence and members of Congress debating whether to disenfranchise the will of the American voters – something truly amazing happened. The Jewish child of an immigrant and the Black son of a woman who “used to pick somebody else’s cotton” were elected to statewide office in Georgia in a runoff election, even though that process was specifically designed to keep people just like them from ever being elected.
America truly is a land of hope and opportunity. As educators and parents, we all have a duty to teach New York’s children that we can never take that for granted.