Watch Leader Nori Rost’s speech from the UWS MoveOn/Indivisible January 6 Day of Remembrance and Action Vigil at Verdi Square on January 6, 2022!
I’m Dr. Nori Rost, leader of the NYSEC where for over 145 years we have worked to prOmote democracy and ensure the inalienable rights of all citizens are protected.
Today, we gather here to say two things:
We gather to say: we remember.
We remember the unbelievable scene as the center of our government, the seat of the sacred trust of democracy was breached by domestic terrorists, white supremacists, QAnon kool-aid drinkers who dared to break into the Capitol of our nation in a dangerous, adult-sized imitation of schoolyard bullies who didn’t get the lunch money this time they were used to shaking down other kids for.
We remember the footage: the speech by Trump at the white supremacist rally where he sounded like a football coach at half-time telling his team they need to get out there and show them who’s boss. Encouraging the brainwashed minions of his narcissistic ego to march to the Capitol, spewing forth the worn-out lies about how the election was stolen.
We remember the footage of the illegally armed domestic terrorists breaching the Capitol, a feat that has only been done once before in the history of our nation, in 1814, by the British who then sacked and burned the place down.
The photos of armed white terrorists breaking into offices, desecrating the chambers of Congress, many wearing t-shirts that boldly proclaimed: Civil War January 6, 2021, acknowledging that this was not an impulsive moment, a crowd who was taken over by their own rhetoric; this was a clearly planned, methodical event that had been openly discussed in hate group online forums for weeks.
We remember how, even with such stark evidence of what happens when you fuel the outrageous lies of a narcissistic bully for political gain when elected leaders bottle-feed conspiracy theories, they themselves don’t really believe in, so many still stood to challenge the legality of the votes, still vomited forth the already debunked narrative that the election was rigged. For what gain? There was no chance in hell even before the carnage that these challenges would be approved. It was only more self-serving, self-aggrandizing posturing by political leaders who have become so drunk on the power they had in the previous regime that they can no longer think rationally or act truthfully.
We remember that. And we will never forget. No matter how those who still support the bald-faced lies of a desperate loser continue to try to control the narrative, we will remember.
I want to remind the members of our congress that unabashedly promote the lies of the former regime that the oath they took was to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the false, inflammatory rhetoric of the one who lost. They took an oath to defend this nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. And for those who betray that oath, we will do everything within our power to legally, peacefully remove you from office at the next election.
And the second thing we gather here to proclaim is: never again. Never again will we allow the waves of tyranny to threaten the shores of liberty; never again will we allow our government to be infiltrated by enemies of the state.
We are here today to say that we will not remain silent in the face of ongoing attacks on democracy. We demand voting rights legislation be enacted to combat the rising tide of voter suppression happening in many states. Our congress must act swiftly and decisively to staunch the tide of authoritarianism that is threatening to overwhelm our nation. We are calling on our legislators to uphold their solemn oath of office by passing the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood.
We declare today that we remember and we will act to ensure our democracy holds fast, even in the midst of domestic terrorism and tyranny. We are not going away, and we will not sit down or slow down or shut up or give up or go away until we have secured liberty and justice for all.
Dr. Nori Rost is Leader at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Prior to her arrival at the Society, she served as the settled minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Dr. Rost has been a prominent activist for reproductive freedom since attending her first NARAL event when she was 17. She has served on the National Clergy Advisory Board for Planned Parenthood, and was volunteer chaplain at Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Colorado Springs, CO.
In 2015, when a domestic terrorist attacked the local Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people, Dr. Rost held a vigil that attracted several hundred people and garnered international media attention, including The New Times, the New York Post, the Guardian, and Al Jazeera. She was also interviewed about the shooting by WNYC.
Dr. Rost also led a group of supporters to PPRM every March 10, National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, to deliver thank you cards, chocolates, and balloons to the hard-working staff. She was also a featured speaker at the Colorado We are Women Rally in 2012 and served on the planning team for the Colorado Springs Womxn’s March, 2017-2020.
Dr. Rost holds a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado and a Doctorate of Ministry from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A champion of justice and equity for all, Dr. Rost is the recipient of the Tri-State NAACP Award of Excellence in Religious Affairs and the Indy Legacy Award for her work in the queer community.