Dear friends and supporters,

First, I want to let you know that all of us here at Little Lights in Washington, DC are physically safe and no one was hurt last Wednesday during the riots at the Capitol. 

West side of the Capitol Building at Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

Little Lights’ main office building is only about seven blocks away from the US Capitol building and two of our public housing sites (Potomac Gardens and Hopkins) are only 12-13 blocks away. 

Nearly every day, I see the dome of the Capitol building whether I am walking or driving in the neighborhood, as do many of our staff, students, and families. For us, the Capitol is not only a symbol of the United States government and a place where important decisions are made for the nation, but part of our neighborhood. We also personally know many volunteers and donors who work in the building.

Personally, I am heartbroken and outraged at what occurred on January 6th in our city and in our neighborhood. To see violent White Nationalist extremists and terrorists overrun and desecrate our Capitol building, murder a police officer, and invade to harm or kill elected officials was horrifying. To see “Jesus Saves” banners and hate-filled rioters invoking Jesus’s name was infuriating. It is past time, especially for those of us in the Evangelical church, to take all forms of racism including White Nationalism very seriously–to learn about it and confront it with moral clarity. This evil is happening right in the pews and destroying lives and any witness of the Gospel.

Potomac Gardens is one of the last remaining public housing projects on Capitol Hill

Knowing that this insurrection and acts of terror were encouraged and enabled by the President of the United States and other elected officials and national leaders is the most frightening reality of American life that I have experienced since immigrating from South Korea as a child.  

I have been teaching a class on the history of racial ideology and systemic racism for the past four and half years at Little Lights, so in some ways, the violence that took place last week was not as surprising to me as maybe to others. Our nation has a long and very specific history of white supremacy. Rioting and violence by angry white mobs are nothing new in America–even if our history books have mostly erased that reality.  

Nonetheless, it is no less horrifying what occurred and continues to occur even as I write this. More violence, hate, and death are likely to occur down the road next week. We need to pray but also take responsibility for what we can now do to save our democracy and to confront and end racism in our country. 

 

God bless you.

Steve Park

Founder & Executive Director