Yesterday, was a dark day in American History, no matter where you were entertainment was halted as a seemingly normal business day where the state of affairs was meant to be bumpy but proceed with very little fanfare. That was not the case as during the middle of proceedings and even in mid-sentence pro-Trump supporters gained access to the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
While it was shocking, was it surprising?
What happens when you force-feed individuals political rhetoric that subverts, hides and even outright lies? What happened yesterday was the culmination of deep-rooted hate, misinformation, and baseless lies filtered through algorithms whose sole purpose is to match like to like (meaning based on your online persona, they handhold you to places of distrust).
Like 9/11, this is a traumatic event and for me, that same feeling of shock and heartbreak over institutions and safety. The triggers are all there: incessantly watching the news all day for fear of missing something important (we spent the day watching and I had to explain the historical, cultural, and political significance of the moment to my Chinese-born family), reaching out to family and friends to try and understand the chaos, and trying to cope using better mental health practices (which I wish I had known then).
What Happens Now
This morning, there’s more coverage trying to make sense of the what, how, and who and every possible angle of what occurred yesterday.
Understand this: There are people throughout the world who saw the events yesterday as a collectively triggering and traumatic event.
For people who may have first-hand knowledge of riots and toppled governments. For people that see what is occurring in the US as another notch in the continuous onslaught of hate and exclusion. For people like me, that work in Inclusion and Belonging, and think of our children and the work we do may not be enough, not nearly enough.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Look Within and Reach Out
Know that yesterday’s events were an act of hate- plain and simple. I had trouble sleeping so this morning wrote a letter to my daughter on my personal blog because I worry about the kind of world we are creating for her.
If you need help to process, like I do- reach out. There are so many of us that are simply in shock, not surprise, but still shocked.
If you have access to mental health services or a counselor or therapist- reach out.
If you are impacted, let your employer know because they should also be reaching out- no matter who you are.
Employers Reach out to your Employees
Sometimes we get caught up in our titles and create this division of authority that separates us, but we are all people. People with feelings, ideas, and different understanding of the way the world works but no matter your political affiliations- we are people.
And just beneath the surface of all that hate- is hurt.
We need to stop pretending and spreading this false narrative that strength means aggression, that we need to be take from others in order to have, and we need to hurt others in order to heal ourselves.
Sorry, it does not work that way.
Know that you will lower levels of efficiency today, less engagement and more emotional and mental distress amongst your employees because we all experienced trauma and have yet to have processed it.
I am not a mental health professional, but I know being silent on this will cost you.
I leave with these words from Seth Meyers, who was angered and shaken by yesterday’s events.
Yours in kind,
Jessy Santana, founder of The Way We Work