On our weekly team call - the mood suddenly shifted as staff began to report the images streaming on their devices of the melee occurring in Washington, D.C. At one point, a team member shared their screen and scrolled through photos of the Capital's insurrection.
Surreal? Oh my gosh, yesterday afternoon felt otherworldly. Perhaps what made it even more compelling was witnessing the events unfolding in the nation's Capital with colleagues from Perú. Over the past 12+ hours, I have heard over and over again - "how is this possible in the United States?"
As one colleague said, "are you certain this isn't happening in Perú?"
Last night, as the day's events started to take a more typical trajectory, I got a call from Father Alex in Arequipa. We talked about the images broadcast on international media. We talked about the impression people in Latin America have of such an event. It may seem hyperbolized to think the United States' image changed forever following the events of January 6th - but it has.
Gone are the days of viewing the U.S. as a fully formed nation. Long gone is the belief that the U.S. has somehow solved the equation for addressing deep inequalities and inequities. Instead, what has replaced our glossy image is one of realism to our faults and shortcomings.
The events that transpired at the Capital of our nation were unconscionable and treasonous. The egregious events are not, however, who we are as a nation or a people.
Through the reactions of our colleagues in Perú, I realized we just took one step closer to more deeply understanding the complex social and political constraints that exist in so many places around the world. Yesterday was an opportunity for us to step a little closer to the rest of the world. It was a glimpse into the struggle many nations have faced for generations. It was a place to gain greater empathy and compassion.
I hope the lessons from January 6th will forever remind us to be better allies, colleagues, friends, and stewards to our brothers and sisters in places like Perú.
Our work is just begininng—time to build more bridges.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.