WASHINGTON — Gayle Smith, president and CEO of The ONE Campaign and a former administrator of USAID, issued the below statement today ahead of President-elect Biden’s Inauguration.
Gayle Smith, CEO and President of The ONE Campaign:
“On January 6th, we witnessed a violent attack on democracy at the United States Capitol. We watched in horror and sadness as people fueled by lies walked through the halls carrying symbols of hate, division, and white supremacy. Each day we learn more of the aftershocks from this tragedy, and it will take time, accountability, and renewed leadership to start to heal.
As a young journalist covering war-torn regions in Africa, I saw my share of violent protests, rebellions, and coups. I could have never imagined seeing this in the United States of America. What happened on that day is a stark reminder that democracy, while powerful, is a process and never ‘done’ and that the words and actions of our nation’s leaders have a transformative impact. Lies about our election and dangerous rhetoric about the integrity of the democratic process were spread by the president and enabled by many of those who surround him. That rhetoric is what incited an insurrection in a building that is a symbol of freedom, liberty, and hope for Americans and people around the world.
“On Inauguration Day, we watch the Capitol through a different lens, witnessing the constitutional transfer of power and seeing Americans from across political parties and differing views come together to honor this process. The importance of American leadership around the world cannot be understated, and the Biden administration and all of Congress must work to restore that leadership. The ONE Campaign was created as a bipartisan movement to give citizens the tools to engage their elected officials and create positive change to ensure that everyone, everywhere can live a life of dignity and opportunity. Our mission remains more important than ever. The ONE Campaign looks forward to working with the new administration to tackle some of our toughest challenges – from the global pandemic, to extreme poverty, to our fight to end HIV/AIDS, and much more.”