January 6, 2021 is a day that we will remember for the rest of our lives. The images of supporters of the incumbent president storming our nation’s Capitol will not fade. And they should not fade, because this deadly turn of events literally and figuratively stopped the wheels of democracy, while the whole world held its breath.

Our democracy is the beating heart of American identity. But it is a work in progress, and our union is, at yet, far from perfect. We must heed John Lewis’s final exhortation to us, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

We are all weary from battling the coronavirus pandemic and its continuing economic and social ramifications. But defending and preserving our democracy is a sacred trust, a debt we owe not only to past generations of Americans who sacrificed their lives for our ideals, but to generations yet to come.

Written by
Mari Kuraishi