January Newsletter

Volume 3.4
January 12, 2021


In the State of Georgia, election season has finally ended.  We have two new Senators:  Jonathan Ossoff, who defeated David Purdue, and Reverend Raphael G. Warnock, who defeated Kelly Loeffler.

In the United States of America, we have confirmed a new President, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and a new Vice President, Kamala D. Harris.

I venture to say that, on Tuesday evening, January 5, 2021, many, if not most, residents of the nation were looking forward to taking a deep cleansing breath.  There was the general expectation that, finally, we would return, not necessarily to normal (a questionable possibility), but to a socially and ethically conscious normalcy.  We would be called upon to set aside anger and dissatisfaction, as well as unproductive and highly disruptive “dog whistle” language and images, and get down to the ongoing business of sustaining our nation. 

For many residents, the question was whether we might turn overdue attention to the work of actually facing the critical challenges before us.  Without question, we have been mired in obsessively troubling public discourses—at the same time that we were being overtaken, and indeed engulfed, by a horrendous convergence of crises:  an escalating COVID-19 global pandemic where the United States is actually in the worst situation rather than leading solutions, a painfully declining economic horizon, an educational minefield across all levels, the increasingly unsalvageable effects of severe weather events and climate change, a degenerating framework for cross-cultural engagement in a multi-cultural nation, and more.  By end of day on January 5th, the question was:  So, can we pay attention now to these problems, problems that are literally taking people’s lives and destroying their ability to take care of self, family, and community?    

Well, on the very next day, Wednesday, January 6, 2021, given our technologically ubiquitous age, the answer to that question was broadcast around the globe in very bright, bold, and highly detailed living color.  The outrageous spectacle of it all left the nation (and indeed the world) wide-eyed and severely shaken.  An unimaginable mob of violent insurrectionists invaded the U.S. Capitol Building and attempted a coup d’etat.  They failed, but not before:  desecrating a nationally symbolic space, wreaking havoc in the middle of a key moment for governmental action, causing severe injury and death, destroying property, and trying in horrific measure to foment a revolution against the nation—including taking down the flag of the United States of America, bearing the flag of the Confederate States of America throughout the Halls of Congress, and erecting a noose-ready scaffolding for lynchings in front of the U.S. Capitol Building doors. 



Trump supporters rally in Washington on Jan. 6 before storming the US Capitol. Photo Credit: JOHN MINCHILLO / AP
A supporter of President Trump carries a Confederate flag through the Capitol Rotunda, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo Credit: JTA-Saul Loeb-AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters of President Donald Trump surge toward the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (Photo Credit: JOSE LUIS MAGANA / AP)
A noose outside the Capitol building. Photo shared by John Lynch on Twitter from WTRF7 News; Getty Images.
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. (Samuel Corum/TNS)

These acts of treason failed



Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certification of Electoral College votes cast in November’s presidential election during a joint session of Congress after working through the night at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 7 following disruption from violent Trump supporters. Photo: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE / AP 

What remains now, in the aftermath of this violently rendered wake up call, is the very hard work of actually BEING a democratic nation, not just saying that we are.  For almost 250 years, we have needed to work persistently on living up to the promises of our democratic model (truth, freedom, equality, justice—for all, not just some), a unique innovation in governance.  An ongoing success for the model has not been and will not be a one and done effort.  It must be a practice across the nation about which we are relentlessly vigilant.  Until January 6, 2021, we were well favored as a nation in our vigilance efforts and privileged to hold up the torch of liberty and justice for others around the globe.  Now, however, we are called upon to face our own demons.  Before us in bolder relief than ever before, we confront the challenge of demonstrating that we live the values that we proclaim. 
Channeling Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the critical question is: 
Where do we go from here? 
In defiance of the potential for hypocrisy, we hunker down as a nation committed to democratic values and principles.  Doing so requires us to be willing to look our truths in the eye, to respect and honor facts and evidence not rumors and fiction, to be vigilant—whether as citizens or as political leaders—in upholding law, order, and justice.  Most compellingly, after a violent insurrection, anchoring ourselves in our democratic values explicitly means holding accountable to our laws and policies both the propagators of resident evil in the United States (including the sitting President of the nation) and the perpetrators of resident evil (including those who stormed the U.S. Capitol and those who abetted the desecration. 
Unmistakably, what was broadcast from the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021—for hours—was an acute display of the nation’s resident evils.  These evils are indeed part of who we are and have been since the beginning of the nation.  They will likely continue to be in one form or another.  We must deal directly with these possibilities, not ignore them.  We can not smooth over these truths.  We can not whitewash these actions.  We can not push violent insurrection under any rug.  It happened before our very eyes.  In the beginning of the nation, the Founding Fathers established a Constitution to manage and curtail these darker and destructive instincts and to hold the people who perpetrate violations against the people accountable.  With a violent insurrection, it is the application of truth, law, order, and justice that becomes the touchstone.  We can not blink.  We can not get sidetracked by pollyannaish desires for the situation to just disappear and not really matter.  Accountability does matter.  In a democratic nation, the imperative is to be conscientious about keeping our public discourses anchored in our national values and about functioning respectfully and honorably as we go forward in executing the laws and policies that make us a democratic nation, that sustain truth, freedom, law, order, and justice for all, and that inspire the best in human dignity and behavior, not the worst.            
So, what about us as citizens in a southern city?  As always, the work of our community continues—with eyes fully open.  We too must commit to being ever vigilant.  Without being caught in the debilitating and destructive snares of lies, hate, and violence, our imperative is to work with our fellow citizens “to keep our eyes on the prize,” to get work done to make a better world for ourselves and for others—near and far.
Ever onward,

Jackie Royster

CEO, Communities Who Know, Inc. ™












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