Together Bravely: A Challenge to Our Democracy

January 7, 2021

Dr. Mathew Johnson, president of Albion College, shared the following message with the Albion College community earlier today.

Dear Albion Community,

Yesterday was a dark day in our nation’s history. Like you, I watched in horror as violent extremists launched an assault on the Capitol in an effort to block the certification of legitimate electoral results previously vetted by the courts and state-level officials. I stand with colleagues across the nation in condemning this violence and affirming the need to proceed with a peaceful transfer of power.

Yesterday’s actions were an attack on the very fabric of our democracy, and unfortunately were not a one-off. Rather, they were the logical culmination of a prolonged campaign to undermine our democracy and a clear display of white supremacy. I am reminded that just a few short months ago, domestic terrorists plotted to kidnap Governor Whitmer. Across the last several years some have sought to undermine the legitimacy of our democratic institutions, fanning the flames of division and hatred with misinformation.

Yesterday’s actions also stand in stark contrast to a summer of peaceful activism in communities around the country demanding accountability and change in policing systems that lead to police killings of Black people. While we stand to condemn the actions yesterday, we simultaneously condemn the very disparate actions taken against unarmed peaceful Black and Brown protestors.

At Albion, we continue to share a commitment to building a brave community where we all know that our personal safety is an institutional commitment and where we can debate our different perspectives respectfully and empathetically. The work we do together as a living and learning community to advance the conversation, co-produce knowledge and build on public understanding has never been more important. Our responsibility is clear: we must move forward with hope, care and a renewed commitment to being boldly anti-racist.

The events of the past 24 hours have been frightening and profoundly saddening. You are all in my thoughts as we navigate the coming days. I hope you remain safe and well.

Thank you for all you do to live and strengthen Albion’s values every day.

Dr. Mathew B. Johnson