Acknowledge the Storm


Wikimedia Commons

Tear Gas outside the United States Capitol building.

The first weeks of 2021 have not been going according to the well wishes of a better, brighter new year made by many on the last day of 2020. While the pandemic continues to worsen with government leaders struggling to handle successful vaccine rollout, people continue to sit in feelings of grief, anxiousness, and loneliness. Though, the national standout story of 2021 so far, was the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, encouraged by the President of the United States himself, Donald Trump.

Green Level sophomore Abby Lu says, “The storming of the capitol made me feel angry, disappointed, and helpless,” later elaborating, “This was a threat to our democracy.”

Many other Green Level students shared those feelings of anger, sadness, and embarrassment from the videos of police taking selfies with the terrorists, clearly posing double standards on race; the photos of some of the most powerful people in the nation crouching fearfully on the ground; the images and news of a noose, guns in every hand, bombs, the confederate flag, shattered windows, stolen mail, anti-semitic shirts, a blue life beaten to death, and four others killed all in our Capitol building, or the “symbol of the American people and their government”.

Isha Madasu, Green Level junior similarly explains, “Those people who stormed the capitol yesterday were not patriots, nor were they protestors. They weren’t even americans. They were domestic terrorists committing an act of sedition. What they did was absolutely disgraceful and is not what the American democracy stands for at all.”

And with this horrific event piled on top of everything else that is going on, it may not be a surprise that the country’s mental health and wellbeing has taken a hit

Furthermore, for students at Green Level and across the country, many are still stuck in virtual school where there is limited room for conversations with black screens, muted microphones, and awkward silence filling the space instead. 

But when there’s an elephant as large as terrorists killing people in the capitol building, it is important to acknowledge what has happened and create a safe space for students to share, listen, and sit. “It acts like an outlet to the stress that built up in me personally after seeing the storming of the Capitol, and also made students recognize the severity of the situation rather than acting as if everything was fine,” Lu explains her own perspective, after noting that in her first two classes, the teachers did not mention anything and “acted as if nothing had happened.”

Green Level junior Sapna Kamath also believes that the situation should be acknowledged in class, “especially classes that deal with history because this isn’t ‘political’, this is something that we will look back on with shame.”

“It’s important for teachers to act as a role model for their students, and ignoring events such as these passes a message that suggests these violent riots are normal or even expected,” Lu concludes.

Although it is important to provide safe spaces for one another everyday, it is even more important right now, as many of us are all disconnected and feeling unsafe or accepted.