Two weeks to the day before the 46th Presidential Inauguration, a mob fueled by lies and conspiracies largely perpetuated by the outgoing president stormed our nation’s capitol with cries of “stop the steal” and “hang Pence”.
Think about that for just a second. Our former president’s most loyal supporters broke into the Capitol with intentions to cause bodily harm, or even kill, his vice president. At the end of the day, the Capitol had suffered damage and theft. Five people - including a Capitol Police officer - were dead.
It was a highly emotional day, and the next two weeks were nerve wracking to say the least. The insurrectionists, and the politicians whose words worked them into a frenzy, remained bold and unremorseful, hoping their “dear leader” would save the day. Threats of violence simmered, and the Capitol transformed into something resembling a fortress surrounded by members of the National Guard.
We all braced ourselves for the worst.
However, the morning of January 20th arrived with no word of protests, marches, or violence. The outgoing president and first lady quietly left the White House, then departed Joint Base Andrews with just a handful of supporters to see them off.
At the Capitol, a light snow greeted the arriving dignitaries, but it soon gave way to bright sunshine. It was as if the weather was reflecting what many Americans were feeling as they watched the ceremony. A new era promising hope, healing, and unity has begun.
The ceremony itself was scaled back to follow Covid safety protocols. The sight of socially distanced attendees wearing masks was refreshing and reassuring - a sign that we can, together, beat back this ongoing pandemic.
The pandemic canceled any in-person celebrations that usually occur on Inauguration Day, so members of the Visva community watched this historic event together in the Community Action Squad. Some showed up with their kids and others with their family and friends on Zoom.
Read on for more highlights!
Just before President Biden was sworn in, J-Lo performed “This Land is Your Land,” and segued into “America the Beautiful'' with a line from the Pledge of Allegiance said in Spanish. Oh, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear “Let’s get loud!” from her song of the same name.
Garth Brooks, a last-minute addition to the inaugural line up, later delivered a beautifully understated version of “Amazing Grace”.
The real star of the show was Amanda Gorman, a writer, activist, and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Miss Gorman recently graduated from Harvard University, and during her time there became the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. Wearing a bright yellow coat and a ring inspired by fellow poet laureate, Maya Angelou, she captivated inauguration attendees with her poem “The Hill We Climb.” Watch her recite the poem below.
After a long day of ceremony and tradition, President Biden and Vice President Harris got to work. There were personnel changes, new senators sworn in, and over a dozen executive orders signed. The measures these orders aim to accomplish include pandemic response, immigration, racial and LGBT equality, the economy, government accountability, and climate change.
This new administration knows it has a world of work ahead, and it’s ready to meet challenges head on. Meanwhile, our work, the work of America’s citizens, is far from over. The government cannot create unity without us. They cannot create change without us. We must rise up to meet them.
Join the Community Action Squad on Visva to stay up to date on how our community will come together to create change in 2021.