As both President of Sonoma State University and as a private citizen of the United States of America, I am horrified by the attack on the U.S. Capitol that took place yesterday at the hands of violent extremists, and at the clear direction and encouragement of the President of the United States.
Like so many others in our community and throughout the nation, I have spent the last day both aghast at this shameful assault and determined to do my part to ensure that this attempted destruction of our democracy does not happen again.
To witness gleeful insurrectionists sow lethal chaos at the heart of our democratically elected government was shocking and painful. To hear the President of the United States console these domestic terrorists with words of love was yet another traumatic affirmation of his anti-democratic and morally deficient leadership.
Our Sonoma State community values inspire my imperative need to speak out. The strength of our community lies not only in our empathy for one another; not only in our diversity of belief, experience, and background; and not only in the incredible achievements of our community members. Our strength also, crucially, lies in our courage to call out something when it is wrong and to shine a light on darkness so that the darkness can be dispelled. Our strength also lies in our educational mission, which promotes critical thinking, rational judgment, and social responsibility. We commit to redoubling our effort to teach those capacities and to promote informed community action.
I am grateful to those who have already spoken out against yesterday’s insurrection, and I urge all leaders who have not yet done so to stand up and to speak up. As Congressman John Lewis wrote in a final statement for the New York Times this past summer, invoking the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.”
Those words ring even truer and louder today. Thus, today, I am using my voice to denounce this deliberate attack on our democracy and pledge to support equality, free speech, and open debate in a safe and democratic manner. Let's raise our voices together and bring just, safe, and equitable change to our communities and our country. We must stand up. We must speak up. We must speak out. The very integrity of our democracy depends on us.
Judy K. Sakaki