January 13, 2021 | Kathryn Libal, Director of Human Rights Institute & Glenn Mitoma, Director of Dodd Human Rights Impact, University of Connecticut
Wednesday’s rampage at the Capitol—resulting in the deaths of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and four others—was among the darkest day of this dark season for the United States. Saturated in lies and conspiracy theories, incited by the President, and protected by white privilege, the mob that stormed the seat of the US government demonstrated to the world the resurgent fascist threat we face. The path to this moment is long, running from the origins of our country in indigenous genocide and chattel slavery, through xenophobia and nationalism, all the way to the digital echo chamber of lies, division and hatred on social media platforms. The path away from this moment will be equally long, but must begin with a renewed commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
The Human Rights Institute and Dodd Human Rights Impact are committed to democracy and the rule of law, and condemn this spectacle of violence and the creeping fascism and authoritarianism such violence manifests. We take seriously President Katsouleas’s admonition on Wednesday that higher education be an engine “for democracy throughout the world,” and are dedicated to building a culture of human rights through engaged research, teaching, and outreach. Ultimately, it is through the protection of the equal and inherent dignity of all members of the human family and the progressive realization of social justice that protect against the allure of demagogues and would-be dictators.
Whenever Donald Trump leaves office—today, tomorrow, or January 20th—the work to strengthen democracy and build a culture of human rights will continue. As we have for the last four years and more, The HRI and Dodd Impact will work in solidarity with our partners on and off campus to foster the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Together with you, we look forward to working to advance these values and practices of democracy, human rights and social justice.