It was particularly surreal on Wednesday to watch fourth grader Miah Cerrillo testify to Congress by video tape that she covered herself in a classmate’s blood in order to fake her death and save her life in a school classroom in Uvalde, TX. It was heartbreaking to listen to Zeneta Everhart’s testimony about her son who was shot in a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, a few weeks ago. And, it was mind-blowing to watch the January 6 committee hearing unfold on primetime TV on Thursday. The hearing laid bare what really happened that day, as well as the words and actions that led up to it. It shined a bright spotlight on how deeply fragile our elections are, and on how deeply fragile our democracy was and still is today.
These everyday Americans put their hands up and swore to tell the truth. They wanted to be counted. They wanted to be heard. They wanted to go on the record so that things would change. With each voice came sadness, horror, disbelief, and hope. Each voice landed deep in my heart. Each voice made me think about the country we live in now, and also about the country I hope to live in.
It’s a moment for each of us to testify about what we believe, what we know, and what we feel. As much as this week was about violence, bloodshed, and guns, it was also about everyday Americans who were brave enough to tell the truth about their lives and their experiences.
If you were called to Washington, do you know what you would testify about? What you would say about how you feel toward our nation right now? (Next week we’ll all have a chance to make our voices heard by joining 24-7: The People’s Filibuster for Gun Safety in the first-ever people’s filibuster of Congress. Join me by recording your own testimony at 24-7.us).
It is a sobering time to live in America. It’s a time when you can go to the supermarket to quickly grab something for dinner, and never return home. You can drop your kid off at school and never see them again. You can live in a neighborhood where gunshots are common background noise and just come to think that it’s a way of life in America today. Elected officials are routinely threatened. Supreme Court justices now need round-the-clock protection. Judges get killed for rendering an opinion. Doctors get gunned down by angry patients. Teachers are asked to do way more than teach. And anyone can be threatened for anything they happen to say online.
I mean, can we all take a moment? Let’s pause and reflect on all of that. Let’s look within and ask ourselves, is this who we want to be? Is this how we want to live? Is this how we want to continue?
Life is made up of moments, and many of us have experienced moments when we knew we had to make life-changing decisions. People in recovery can tell you the moment they decided enough was enough. People in unhealthy marriages can as well. So can people who have lost a child, or those who were fired out of nowhere. The list goes on.
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