On January 6, 2021, a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the United States Capitol with the goal of overturning Trump’s lost re-election bid. Although most Americans feared they were witnessing the crumbling of America’s democracy, others supported the attackers.
Through all of this, questions must be asked and answered on why and how the United States reached this point and how do we, as a nation, learn, teach and move forward to strengthen our democracy and institutions. Bennington College’s Elizabeth Coleman Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) believes it is incumbent upon American colleges and universities to take an active role in this process of strengthening our democracy.
To that end, CAPA has established the “January 6 Project” which examines the historical, cultural and political events that led to the attack with the goal of understanding its causes, in all its forms, in order to shed light and expose truths for an informed citizenry to act to prevent this type of assault on democracy. Following the series, Bennington College students will take what is learned and work with teachers and policy makers to create a toolkit to bring the events and impact of the January 6 attack into the classroom. We will compile and curate the documents needed to best understand the founders’ ideas and the foundation on which the country was built; develop timelines and milestones to understand how this happened and examine such themes as lack of equality, racism, religion, and how political strategies played into these attacks.