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OTP WASHINGTON: The Capitol Riots

Hosted by Nadine Bourne, with reporters and panelists Samantha Jill Anderson, Jessica Nix, Timi Awoyinka, and Ivy Lyons.

Nadine Bourne 0:26
Just under 90 days have passed since this moment.

Sen. Lankford 0:31
My challenge today is not about the good people of Arizona.

Sen. Grassley 0:37
The Senate will stand in recess until the call of the chair

Sen. Lankford 0:42
We’ll pause. Thank you

Nadine Bourne 0:46
But what exactly happened my day has been locked into the minds of Americans and and won’t go away anytime soon for those on the ground in DC. Our own Samantha Jill Anderson has more on this front. Take a look.

Samantha Jill Anderson 1:03
Razor wired fences, National Guards troops and major road closures. These are the realities outside of the Capitol in response to the insurrection on January 6, and weeks later, the Capitol grounds are a far cry from their one’s open grass yards, paths and streets. grounds that many local Capitol Hill residents say they view as their backyard. Even tourists are adapting to the change.

Tourist 1:30
I think this is kind of sad, because I mean, I wouldn’t hear from at least this disease and it’s close. It’s pretty sad for me. Yeah.

Samantha Jill Anderson 1:39
The Capitol buildings grounds are traditionally watched over by security Capitol Police officers and protected by some barriers. However, these measures fail to prevent the storming of the Capitol in January by some supporters of former President Trump in an immediate response and to protect the capital from future attacks. eight foot tall fencing stretching some three miles was implemented, and about 26,000 National Guard troops were deployed to DC, costing taxpayers nearly $500 million. While the Capitol building has been the primary focus of protection, the US Botanical Gardens Supreme Court, Library of Congress and Senate and House office buildings are all blocked off by the barriers, while a definite deadline for the removal of the fencing surrounding the Capitol and a return to normal has yet to be announced. The US Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies say they continue to track threats against lawmakers and that more weeks of National Guard protection and additional months of fencing may be needed. Now the idea of permanent fencing around the Capitol has been rejected by both local community members and city leaders who say the Capitol ground should be both safe and accessible for OTP news in Washington. I’m Samantha Jill Anderson.

Nadine Bourne 3:02
Thank you, Samantha. And as the nation learns more about the events surrounding the January 6 insurrection, many wonder what the local ramifications will be going forward. Joining me now is six district adversary neighborhood commission chair Edward Daniels. Hi, Daniel. How are you?

Edward Daniels 3:21
I’m good Nadine. How are you? Thanks for having me.

Nadine Bourne 3:24
No problem. Thank you for coming.

Edward Daniels 3:27
Of course, of course.

Nadine Bourne 3:28
So just to dive on in with everything. I really want to know what was the like in DC neighborhoods and communities before the Capitol Riot?

Edward Daniels 3:40
Yeah, it was a very surreal, disturbing time. I represent residents here of Capitol Capitol Riverfront Navy Yard. So we’re just a few blocks over from the Capitol itself. And my living room window actually faces one of the hotels where lots of the protesters were staying. It was very odd, because there was a different tone in town leading up to that day leading up to the inauguration. Lots of people coming into town with lots of, you know, Trump flags, American flags, Confederate flags, and it was just a little odd to see that many people start to diverge upon the city. And no one knew what was gonna happen. No one knew what was happening, you know, leading up into that to that day, we knew that protests would happen, but we didn’t know, I guess the severity of what would happen that evening and I watched it all unfold on television and also from my living room window as they all gathered outside and left the hotel to head down to the Capitol.

Nadine Bourne 4:38
Did you ever think that with all of the increase of Trump supporters, Republican supporters and everything, that there would be some type of big Riot that will happen?

Edward Daniels 4:54
Um, honestly, I didn’t I don’t I don’t. I don’t I didn’t. I didn’t think that I know that there were tons of people. They were upset over the election results. And for whatever reason that was coming from, you know, the top of our leadership at the time, and I knew that, yes, there’d be angry people in town that would want to make their voices heard. And that’s understandable, we can do that. However, I wasn’t prepared for that many people coming into town and causing the trouble that they did. I’ve been in DC for 17 years. I was here in 2009, leading up to Barack Obama’s first inauguration. And I can tell you, as a DC resident, it was amazing, an amazing time to be in DC. There was nothing but love in the air leading up to that day as everyone was flocking here, and we gladly Welcome to 1 million people to that inauguration. So this time around to have this many people that were this angry over the results and whatever else to head here and to easily breach the capital. That was the part that got me I also attended many protests throughout the summer for racial injustice. And the result was not the same. Of course, the the response from police with those protesters is completely different. These people just waltz into DC from far far away and easily access the capital. And I’ve never seen anything like that before.

Nadine Bourne 6:15
How different was protection? Prior to chamber, he said, so we’ve all been seeing the different type of protests that’s been going on Black Lives Matter. Everything, how different was the protection on the capital, then to the protection that we saw on all of these footages?

Edward Daniels 6:38
From what I understand and talking with our MPD Metropolitan Police Department. In the days after the incident, it seems that there was some sort of miscommunication with what what Intel they were getting as to what might happen on January 6. I don’t think honestly, that the response from law enforcement and National Guard, or local law enforcement and Capitol Hill police, the response to these protesters was definitely a lack of preparation. And also just a very different response. I was I remember the footage of you Street, peaceful protesters, for George Floyd’s death. They had it from the street down to the National Mall on this one day. And I remember a peaceful protest line headed down there. And I was so proud to see how many people were in the streets heading down towards the the White House in the end and the Capitol, the National Guard showed up and began to release tear gas and forcefully began to assault these protesters and get them out of the area. But then on January 6, with the knowledge that there would be some sort of unrest on that day, it seemed like there was no preparation for these masses of people that headed here. So I’m still trying to trying to wrap my head around that as to why there was such different levels of enforcement on those on those days. And I mean, we watched we witnessed nationally, you know, the tear gas and all of the unrest throughout the city, I mean of helicopters, helicopters flying over protesters, peaceful protesters on the ground. And then on this day, again, it just I cannot wrap my head around the fact that these people decided to because they thought that the President actually won this election, that they were going to come to DC and stormed the Capitol. And again, they did it they did it pretty easily. And I sat and watched these people gather out front of the hotel and arm themselves when I saw these military jackets go over people as they armed themselves to head down there. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought okay, well, surely the police are going to be at the hotel soon or on the street soon. No, that didn’t happen. They easily left their hotels geared up, went to the Capitol and basically, you know, walked in without knocking. So I’m still to this day, just a little baffled as to how easily that take that that happened.

Nadine Bourne 8:55
Now speaking of former President Trump saying go to the Capitol, and Brian, and everything, there has been a lot of talk on who is really responsible for the events that happened on January 6, and I want to ask you your opinion on Who do you think is most responsible for the events that unfolded?

Edward Daniels 9:19
Yeah, I think, again, the the the call to arms came from, you know, the top so I think that his speech moments before they all decided to storm the Capitol. Definitely played a part in it. But there was also it seems organization well before that, that on January 6, something would happen. I’m not sure if he was aware of just how many people would be coming here. And you know if they had a plan to actually do that or not, but we’ve since learned that there were pipe bombs planted at the republican national headquarters in a republican headquarters here in DC and democratic headquarters in DC. So yeah, this was well planned and I think that from the top him in his rhetoric and his vitriol and saying You know, we’re not happy. Let’s go to the Capitol and make it known that we’re not happy. Yeah, you, you, you basically incited that I don’t see how there’s any debate, you know that your words cause this action. So yeah, I think that he’s definitely responsible in any of the enablers that help plan these trips to DC people didn’t just you know, drive their cars into DC these are busloads of people. That right came into the city that flew into the city. And again, I know my city very well. I’ve been here through many events, many inaugurations many large, large events, were prepared for that DC is very prepared for these big events. You don’t just walk into the city and walk into the, you know, the Capitol, US Capitol, on that day these people did.

Nadine Bourne 10:43
And during the riots and following days afterwards, how has neighboring communities supported each other during this time of chaos? To say the least?

Edward Daniels 11:00
Yeah, I think it’s so I’m so glad to be a community leader. And I can honestly tell you that I know, thanks to former President Trump. That’s why I stepped into this into this role and decided to run for commissioner of my neighborhood, because I felt like I couldn’t sit around and point fingers, I had to get out and do something. I’ve seen a lot of my neighbors that have really stepped up and comforted one another asked you know each other, hey, what do you need? I think a lot of people realize that this isn’t, this isn’t who we are, there’s a very loud minority of people, these indirect insurrectionists, these white nationalist, these people that don’t want to be part of a conversation, they want to cause pain, they want to cause violence, they don’t want to use rational and logical conversation to understand one another. So I think that we all understand that that’s a loud minority that unfortunately, are still out there. And are there’s still, you know, looking to incite violence, I do believe. But I think that my neighbors have been great in taking care of one another touching base with with one another. There have been lots of community conversations. And I think that moving from the year of 2020, from the insane here with the pandemic racial injustice, we have a lot of discussions to take place. And I think that that’s where we are now is understanding needing to understand one another with with conversation. And I think that most of my neighbors are understanding that, that we have to continue conversations and understanding what each of us needs.

Nadine Bourne 12:27
Okay. And during the time of, you know, pandemic, we’re in COVID-19. Do you think that people were concerned that this could have been another big spreader for COVID-19?

Edward Daniels 12:47
Most definitely, I think so. Um, as I mentioned, right, I guess I should mention, I’m also working with the DC Department of Health as a contact Tracy. So I have been doing that for six months, as well as, you know, serving my community. And I think that any large gathering, I think those of us behind the scenes, any large gathering, we’re constantly worried that that gathering will become a super spreader event. We did see numbers tick up after the after the insurrection that day and just all of the activity in town. So yeah, we’re always concerned about that. We are working hard, you know, as community leaders, the DC health department to put an end to this to the virus and get back to our normal lives. So I think that Yeah, they there’s always a worry when they’re large gatherings of any sort that we’re going to you know, cause a another spike in the COVID cases.

Nadine Bourne 13:39
When we return, the panel will discuss some of the long term effects of the January six riots on education in the district.

Nadine Bourne 13:51
We are back now with Americans working hard to determine where our country is heading, next, we’re questioning what our next steps are as students and residents of the district. Jessica Nix is a student journalist and moderator for GWTVs Capital Crossfire. She has completed and continue working on internships with CBS News in Washington. Timi Awoyinka is my co host of over drinks my name to me. She’s an OTP Washington correspondent and has continued producing excellent journalism. And Ivy Lyons is the host of The Political Tic Tok, our own OTP Washington political correspondent and this show’s executive producer. They have worked with several politicians, Washington’s ABC affiliate, and with NBC’s Washington bureau. So let’s get right into it. In the wake of the capital riots and previous protests, are students prepared for the world around them to become more stressful than what it already is?

Timi Awoyinka 15:00
I mean, I don’t, I don’t think students are prepared for anything at all. Everything is just taken us all by surprise. I mean, no one thought something like this could ever happen. And I don’t think anyone in particular is prepared for the next steps or what you know, it’s going to look like in the days to come.

Jessica Nix 15:25
See, I think students are prepared, I think that they’ve learned how to adapt, I think they’ve learned how to look work virtually. So I think moving forward out of the workplace, into the workplace and out of college, that they can take these skills that they’ve learned from this terrible time that we’ve been in for this past year, and really apply that to the workplace, they know how to adapt. And yeah, every day is different. And something new is always going to come up, you never know what’s going to happen, but they know to take everything in stride. And that they know that they can get through it. And then they can create it since this is a journalism talk, they can create excellent journalism, or they can create whatever they want to be able to create as long as they know how to adapt.

Nadine Bourne 16:01
So Jessica, because you are student, student journalists, and you say that you are prepared. Being in the field that you do have to go up to people you do have to be a bit more interactive. Do you honestly feel like you are getting the best education you can, during COVID-19? to become a professional journalist in the near future?

Jessica Nix 16:28
I think that’s a great question. I think it’s incredibly difficult. To be virtual to learn virtually burnout is real, I feel it, my friends feel it. Everyone I work with feels it of having to be on a screen 24 seven. journalism is a very screen oriented industry, you’re constantly on your phone, you’re constantly on your email, you’re constantly editing and looking at documents. So your eyes are constantly strained as well. So maybe I’m training for that. I guess, maybe that’s what I’m learning. But I will say that it’s definitely it’s definitely been a challenge. I do think for my school, I think for working virtually and turning virtually, working with gdb. TV virtually, it’s given me a different set of skills that I otherwise would not have had without the pandemic. But it’s it’s definitely difficult, it’s hard, you aren’t learning the same things being out in the field, which I really wish you know, of course, we didn’t have this and I could be out in the fields learning all of this. But I’m for what it is and for what we have to live through. I believe I am getting a great education and learning how to adapt, and learning how to be resilient, and learning how to push forward and to still hold people’s feet to the fire and bring the truth to light. And that’s what we should be doing as journalists, whether you’re virtual or if you’re in person. That’s That’s our job. And that’s what you should be doing.

Nadine Bourne 17:48
Um, Georgetown University, and also Jessica from GW, both schools are in the heart of DC. With everything dealing with politics and protests going on. Do you guys think that your institutions and colleges and universities across the country are being transparent with their students with everything going on in the news,

Jessica Nix 18:15
I think transparency is hard. And the era of COVID gw has been online for a year now. So we haven’t had many students on campus, I think we just welcome back up to 1500 students on campus, we haven’t had a single in person class. We’ve been completely virtual this whole time. And I think it’s hard because a lot of times, college administration has been making a lot of empty promises. And you can’t really make any promises and COVID. And so it’s been a lot of We will be back and then a few days later saying we will not be back. And I think it’s incredibly difficult to be an administration official, it’s incredibly difficult to be in any job right now. Because there’s you just have no idea what’s going to happen next. But I do think administration officials should be a little bit more transparent and saying, we do not know what’s going to happen. So we cannot make a promise as to whether or not we will be in person or whether or not we’re going to be virtual. And I think that’s that’s what college colleges should really do to be able to increase their transparency.

Ivy Lyons 19:16
So I would say that and right. Building on top of it is all of the you know, student journalism is full of great reporting, the GW Hatchett. The Hoya, The Voice. There are so many like local news outlets, including those that are in American University and at UMD that are covering what’s going on at their institution as well as trying to keep a bead on what’s going on in their local area. And one of the things that has come out or stood out to me most is that no matter what’s happening politically in those spaces, it’s the allocation of resources that’s gonna, you know, get you at the end of the day, if you can’t promise if you if you make a promise and you don’t have the resources to allocate for it. If you don’t have the space for something, then that’s going to be the thing. That is the defining quality for your student body, you won’t have the opportunity to really dive in if you know your student journalists are finding out that you’re making all of these promises, and Moments later, your undergraduates, your grad students, your your pre collegiate athlete or your collegiate, your collegiate athletes, the people that are in that space, aren’t getting the resources that you are offering them. It becomes a comparison game for, you know, undergraduate to graduate institutions, it becomes a comparison game between individual student populations if you know yes, you know, your medical staff need to be on on deck but like how often do you need a freshman in the medical on the medical campus with no experience no ability to provide care? How often do you need someone to be on campus? As a student journalist? How often do you need someone to be on campus doing all of these jobs, it’s it’s such a broad issue of not having the resource that resources to allocate and then making promises. I think that that may be just as much an issue as making promises building on a promise is one thing, but not having the ability to even come close to fulfilling it, as Jessica said, completely different.

Nadine Bourne 21:11
And the times of these unknowns, right? And then about how we’re going to transition from Virtual Learning back to in person, how many students get to be in class at a time? do you guys feel comfortable, and you’re ready to be back in the building to be back amongst your peers again.

Jessica Nix 21:37
100% I’m dying to get back on campus. I will say, um, I think while cases are going down, hospitalizations are going down. vaccinations are going up, there are more variants coming up with COVID-19. Again, every day, something new is going to be happening. And while the stats are looking good right now, that’s no means for us to become relaxed about the pandemic, this is still a pandemic, this is still changing every single day. So while I am desperate to get back on campus, and to get some kind of normal college life back and to have a senior year, I think that you can’t really again, make any empty promises, I would hope to be back in person I would hope to be able to see my professors face to face, even if there’s a hybrid option available, just bringing students back, I think it will kind of give us a sense of normalcy again, even if we are all messed up. But I think in this year of learning and adapting for the pandemic, I think colleges have been able to figure out for the fall, how can we start bringing students back because the stats are looking better. But still keep in social distancing measures and masking up measures, and maybe updating infrastructure to make sure that freshmen dorms are having better h vac systems. And so I think that they can take these next few months before the fall semester starts to really reevaluate their systems and kind of put some stuff into place. So we don’t have these new variants spreading, and we can keep these these statistics going down. Do we think that? No, go ahead to me,

Timi Awoyinka 23:10
I was gonna say yes, definitely. I agree with all of you. I’m looking forward to, you know, going I mean, I don’t think we’re going to get back anytime soon for us as graduating seniors, but I’m ready to move back to in person learning. I think that one of the beauties of Georgetown our program is that we’re small. So they should be able to control that, you know, as long as there’s some form of vaccine available for each and every person coming back and regular testing, and I think Georgetown has been transparent about that, that they do testing for those that are on the main campus. So I think regular testing, just like Jessica said, you know, some form of hybrid to start off and then continuously, just seeing how that works out will be a good idea for transitioning back to in person classrooms.

Nadine Bourne 24:01
Do you think that the vaccine getting the vaccine will be mandatory in the coming up fall? school year? Will the administration Oh, what was that?

Jessica Nix 24:20
I was just gonna say, well, the administration cannot federally mandate a vaccine, they can encourage us to get vaccinated. They can’t federally mandate mask wearing except Biden did do that on federal grounds, which is allowed, but um, so they can just encourage it. So I think, you know, universities require certain vaccinations when you enroll in the school when you move on to campus. So it’ll be interesting to see if universities start requiring it. I believe they should. Just because we are seeing statistics that it does stop the spread. It does help with decreasing hospitalizations and if it really does keep our health and you know, a college campus can be a petri dish so as long as we can keep the vaccine nations and and they can encourage that. And I think universities, universities should absolutely require it require it.

Ivy Lyons 25:08
There is a campus social political ramification that I think we would all know very well, which is, we also have that secondary like people, if they choose not to get the vaccination, be it for religious reasons for health reasons, whatever vaccines have, you know, like mask wearing, like the wearing of certain types of hats and paraphernalia, they have become a little bit of a political tool, a way of trying to assume a political identity, I think that that’s going to be a secondary challenge is that when we go back on campus, are we going to see, are we going to see the same Trump GOP style versus the true like the more moderate Republicans and Democrats versus more liberal individuals on campus, disgusting, vaccinations and mask wearing as if it is a serious political high key issue, when it is, in reality, just a health decision that needs to be made on that type of granular level?

Timi Awoyinka 26:14
Most definitely, I think, as I thought of that question, just like how we mentioned, other vaccines are required to resume on campus? Why should this be any different, you know, for the safety of yourself, your family members, your students, and to have a fun time in college, there should be no reason why, you know, you shouldn’t take this vaccine to start. So obviously, if you want to switch to online, and you’re not, you know, you’re not sure, that’s another option, too. But I don’t see why, you know, this thing shouldn’t be mandated in schools.

Nadine Bourne 26:50
There will be a lot of a lot of talk, a lot of arguments going on. And speaking of Trump, as we move on from the Trump tweeting era, right into a new presidency, how is student journalism going to transition? Right, so we’ve seen the era of relying on Twitter to figure out what is going on with the President. Right? How then are we now going to transition into President Biden, his stint in journalism still going to be relying on Twitter? Are we going to go back to traditional ways find a new way of doing journalism?

Timi Awoyinka 27:41
I mean, I think the social media aspects will always be there. It’s always been a powerful tool for journalists, regardless of whether Trump was there or not. But I do think we should be able to start seeing, you know, other forms being used now, I think, because charm, you know, heavily used relied on Twitter and Social Media, to, you know, break the news. I guess that was why we saw that increase, but I think it should go back to some form of regulated sense for student journalists, student journalists

Ivy Lyons 28:13
are not going to be as far behind the trail as maybe, you know, a CNN Jim Acosta type person, right, you are still going to see significant impacts to the way that journalism presents itself on social media, and especially in spaces like, especially in spaces like those of CNN, and MSNBC, but also at our local, like, level collegiate papers.

Jessica Nix 28:42
So I think in general, it’s got it’s not just a return to normalcy, it’s a return to boring and politics. And so I think student journalists are going to have an extra added pressure of how do we make senate procedure? How do we make policy an interesting story? And how can we tell that from not just looking at social media and relying on the elites in journalism and the elites in administrations and in politics, but how can we also seek that stuff out?

Nadine Bourne 29:10
Thank you so much for joining us today. Please visit OTP Washington DOT com for supporting information on our special reports. I’m Nadine Bourne, and this has been another OTP Washington special report for air on DCTV.

Transcribed by

Author: Ivy Lyons

I’ve enjoyed working as a student journalist, printing my own newsletters, and encouraging contextualized, rich discussions of what matters most. I currently produce and host podcasts, contribute to news outlets and continue my education as a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland.

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