WASHINGTON — Following the violent and deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on Wednesday, many parents all across the country have spoken to their children about the turmoil that took place and the response from law enforcement.
The insurgency that unfolded eventually led to at least five deaths and dozens of arrests.
For families trying to make sense of the ordeal, some of the talks around the dinner table have revolved around the pictures and videos of the carnage that unfolded.
"They’ve been through that space and have come to respect it. To see it violated that way, it really hits close to home for me," said Symone Walker, a mother of two students in Arlington who took them on a tour of the US Capitol two years ago. "I never thought I would have to have a conversation with my child about sedition and insurrection.”
For Walker and other members of the Black Parents of Arlington, the conversations have also focused on the treatment of the white rioters by law enforcement.
Tiffany Day thought back to when she was a part of protests last summer as a legal observer and witnessed the response from police against Black protesters.
This week, she said the response was far different when the crowd was predominantly made up of white people.
On Friday, she told WUSA9 that her 8th-grade daughter had even noticed the difference.
"Even in her youth as a 13-year-old, she was able to see this disparity where it’s like night and day in terms of their response," Day said. "She asked questions like why weren’t National Guard present? I too have that question. I didn’t really have to tell her anything because we’ve been having these conversations for too long.”
Adora Williams, the mother of a 13-year-old and 15-year-old in Arlington, also had frank discussions with her children after they brought up memories of the protests last year following the death of George Floyd.
"The police were well prepared when it was Black Lives Matter with rubber bullets and gas," she said. "My children pointed it out almost immediately. They’re like, 'I’m looking at this crowd and I’m not seeing any Black and Brown faces so I understand why they didn’t get treated that way."
"Their question is always why? Why is it like this?" Williams added. "As a parent, when my child is looking at me saying, why does my life not matter as those lives? It just breaks my heart that I have to constantly have this conversation.”
The mothers said some of the discussions have also continued at school.
The three agreed that it was important for the schools to allow the students to speak about the current events to help build an understanding of the times.
"They’re getting the students engaged. It gives me hope that maybe we can grow a generation of students where we won’t raise future insurgents," Williams said. "I think the biggest thing is it's a way for our children to process and understand.”
Walker added that it would be vital for schools to improve teachings of history and anti-racism to truly bring progress for future generations following the uprising this week in D.C.
"This is what you see not just when things are unchecked but when we don’t teach government in school," she said. "I think we, as a society, need to get back to how we’re educating our populace. When you whitewash history, then it will definitely repeat itself.”
Moving forward, the three mothers said it would be important for families of all races and backgrounds to have personal conversations with their children about racism in America and what they can do to avoid even more division following the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol.
"We’re talking about systemic racism. We’re talking about the unchecked behaviors that lead to these types of situations," said Adora Williams. "I would hope that just as we are having our conversations, white people are having their conversations. They’re ongoing. They need to be, but they need to be ongoing globally.”