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Remarks from Congresswoman Jacobs on Anniversary of January 6

Washington, January 6, 2022 | Will McDonald (12028454864)

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) gave personal testimony on the events of January 6, 2021. Congresswoman Jacobs was in the House Gallery during the attack on the Capitol and spoke in the Cannon Caucus Room in a Members’ Testimonials program. 

Video of Congresswoman Jacobs’ remarks here (YouTube, Twitter

Congresswoman Jacobs’ remarks as delivered: 

January 6 was my fourth day in office. 

January 6 was my first time ever to the House Gallery – my team had to walk me there because I didn’t know how to get through the Capitol yet.

I’ll never forget the buzzing of the escape hoods. The fear when I couldn’t open the packaging. The sound of the doors closing and being locked. Introducing myself to my colleagues as we were hiding under the chairs. Annie Kuster grabbing my hand. Fashioning weapons out of stanchions and pens and my high heels, ready to take on the rioters who were banging on the doors behind us. Climbing over chairs and under rails not sure where the rioters were and if we were going fast enough to escape them, wondering if the bruises I found later that night were from dropping to the floor so many times, or from our rushed escape. Waiting for the elevator door to open, sure we were going to see a machine gun, and for it all to be over. The Capitol Police officer who put his body in the way in case that happened. Looking to my right and seeing the mob as we rushed to get out, seconds away from getting us. 

I’ll never forget just how close we came to losing our Democracy that day. 

But I’ll also never forget the feeling – as I was sitting there under my chair – that I knew what we needed to do, that I was here for a reason. Because I’d spent my career working on conflict and political violence at the United Nations and the State Department. I’d worked on post-coup transitions and responses to violent extremism and electoral violence in places around the world. I’d been in scary situations before. 

I’d advised other countries about what they should do. I just never thought I’d need to use that experience here. I never thought the most dangerous place I could be was the United States Capitol.  

But on January 6, the United States Capitol became a conflict setting. And although we eventually secured the building and returned to work that night – the conflict isn’t over. January 6 was not the end, it was the beginning. 

And I know that many people are afraid about what this means for the future of our country, as we see the threat morph from a violent mob to a more insidious effort to use the institutions themselves to overturn the will of the people – and those threats to our democracy are real.

But I’m optimistic, because I’ve seen countries, torn apart even more than ours are, find a way to put themselves back together. I know that it’s possible. All it takes is each of us – regardless of party – coming together to decide that our Democracy is worth defending.

And I know that all of us here today are ready to do that.