The nation was glued to the footage from the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, as a mob broke windows and doors, streaming into the rotunda and the House chamber. Images of legislators lying under desks and wearing gas masks as the building was evacuated were unprecedented and shocking. In Connecticut, both those who oppose and those who support President Donald Trump had strong reactions.
Faith leaders and activists were in Hartford Wednesday for an event marking Three Kings Day when news broke of the attack.
LGBTQ activist Tamara Nuñez del Prado said it was painful to watch the Capitol under attack. As an exile of Bolivia after a coup in 2019, she describes the vote as the most sacred representation of democracy.
“That is how the people’s sovereignty is expressed -- through the vote,” she said in Spanish. “If the citizens of this country voted to stop Trump and elect Biden, that has to be respected because it’s respecting the essence of democracy, which is the vote.”
Pamela Selders, co-founder of Moral Monday in Connecticut, said the scene of chaos at the Capitol is testing the nation at its core.
“It is giving us an opportunity to make another decision about who we’re going to be,” she said.
As a Black woman, Selders said she has suffered racism and sexism and recognizes the many inequities our society faces, “and still do with all of the systems that are in place. But at the same time, I am not willing to tear everything down,” she said.
The Greater New Haven Clergy Association also gathered to condemn the acts of violence in Trump’s name, calling them a “nightmare.”
The Rev. Boise Kimber is president emeritus of the association and pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church in New Haven. He said what the country saw unfold was a clear demonstration of white privilege.
“If those would have been Muslims or Blacks, there would have been blood shedded all over the Capitol,” he said Thursday.
He points the finger at Trump for egging on his supporters.
“There were individuals there at this march who were saying, ‘We want our country back,’” he said. “When did you get a country? This country belongs to all of the people. We saw racism yesterday at its finest.”
Kimber said it will take a lot of healing to overcome the divides the Trump administration has caused.
Liz Normand lives in Prospect. She describes herself as a Trump supporter, even after the events of Wednesday. She’s a nurse and nursing lecturer at Sacred Heart University and is working right now to vaccinate Connecticut residents against the coronavirus.
“I think last night was probably [Trump’s] last dance,” she told Connecticut Public Radio. “I think that the fat lady has sung her aria 10 times already, and last night was it.”
She still wishes that Trump had won in November, but unlike the extremists at the Capitol, she’s not disputing the result.
“I believe that [it was] fair even though I don’t like the outcome,” Normand said. “The votes were counted accurately, the Electoral College was handled, and yeah, I didn’t really want to give up, but you know, it’s time to give up and let our president transition peacefully.”