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January 6 2021: Attack on the U.S. Capitol: Home

Resources to help students understand the events that occurred on January 6th, 2021

What Happened and Why it Matters

On January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. underwent the largest attack since the British attack during the War of 1812. The attack was led by a large a group of [President] Trump supporters, who violently tried to stop members of Congress from certifying that President-elect Joe Biden had won the 2020 presidential election. Details about the attack are still unfolding, but so far we know that both civilians and law enforcement officers were injured, and at least 5 people have died as a result of their injuries.

This is the first time in the history of the United States of America that there has not been a peaceful transition of power.

Below are some resources to help you learn about what happened, why it happened, and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

Starting Points

Related Guides

Questions to Consider

image of sitting person next to lightbulb

  • What are you seeing on social media or the news about the events in the Capitol? How do you feel about what you see? Whose perspective is being featured? Whose voices are missing?

  • Which words are journalists or social media influencers using to talk about the situation or the people involved? Do you think they would use different words if the rioters were Black, Latinx, or Muslim?

  • How was the police response and the news coverage different from the Black Lives Matter protests? 

  • Is this moment comparable to any other in U.S. history? (Use reliable sources to learn about past events. If your family has recently immigrated to the U.S., ask whether it compares with anything that's happened in your country of origin.) 

  • How can society prevent violent attacks on democratic institutions? What specific actions can you take to have a positive impact on the future?

Questions from Common Sense Media

I am worried/scared/angry. What can I do? (useful for citizens of the US)

worried personYou, my friend, are not alone. So many of us feel strong emotions about these events, and those feelings might change or go back and forth quickly.

Here are some actions you can take right now to help:

1) Know that you are safe. We are all here to help make sure of that.

2) Breathe. Try box breathing. Breathe slowly in through your nose while counting to 4, hold your breath for 4 counts, then breathe out four 4 counts.

3) Talk to a trusted adult. This might be one of your teachers, it might be a parent or guardian, it might be your guidance counselor, or even your librarian. We are all here to listen and support you.

4) Write it down. Even if you don't keep a journal normally, it helps to write down some of your thoughts.

5) Take a break from the news and from talking about it. While it's important to have conversations about this, it's also important to give your brain a break.

  • play a game 
  • go for a walk outside
  • make something: a drawing, a Lego tower, a baked treat
  • listen to music
  • read a book that's about something else entirely
  • do something you love to do

Be Smart About the News You Trust

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Learn some tips and good sources from the news research guide 

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This LibGuide was created by Kathy Fester Concordian International School, Bangkok

Thank you to Leonard Middle School for some resources!

The content is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license.