Recorded on 3/23/2021, Steve Adubato speaks with U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D) – NJ, 12th Congressional District, about her experience on January 6th at the Capitol Riots, the long-term impact of the riots, and the importance of diversity and representation in government administrations.
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman discusses her experience on January 6th at the Capitol Riots. She says she was “in the dark” for most of January 6th. After being evacuated from her apartment, she felt the Capitol would be safe, however, she did not realize that the outside demonstration was pressing inside the Capitol building. In addition, some of the members she was sheltered with refused to wear their masks, despite the COVID-19 pandemic still being in full swing. Coleman contracted COVID-19 after this day.
Coleman reflected on the long-term implications of the January 6th riots, “Democracy is fragile. We can’t take it for granted. It was definitely threatened over the last four years and it culminated in what I consider to be an insurrection. That is scary.” She says there is a lot of anger and hatred that has been “fermented by the former President.”
For U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, confronting racism was an everyday experience in her 28 years working in the Executive branch of government and beyond. She explains as an African American female, “People weren’t too sure about me, why I was there, whether or not I deserved to be there. Being questioned as to whether or not I was prepared to be in [certain] spaces, it’s something I experienced personally.”