President's Statement on Wednesday’s Violent Protests in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC, January 8, 2021 -- On Wednesday, we all watched the violent protests and vandalism unfold in the United States Capitol with dismay, shock, and horror. What we witnessed was not only dangerous and shameful, it was an affront to our values and our democracy. Lives were lost, and our ability to be proud of what the United States stands for was severely shaken.   

The generally passive response the rioters received was radically different than the excessive force used against peaceful protestors earlier this summer. We are not advocating police aggression to the rioters, of course, but rather underscoring systemic racism in our society.

We look to our leaders to lead by example, to lead with honesty, integrity, and decency. Not only do words matter, such that angry and hateful rhetoric has consequences, but behavior also matters. As an organization devoted to the mental health and overall well-being of children and families, we look to the events of January 6 and what led up to them as legacies to our next generation. We cannot let those stand. We must do better. Civility, care, and respect must guide our interactions with each other even when we disagree.

Research shows that children and adolescents are prone to imitate what they see and hear in the news. Exposure to such violence can lead to fear, desensitization, and in some, an increase in aggressive and violent behaviors.

To help children, families, and communities grappling with these senseless acts of violence, we compiled the following resources: 

I urge you to share these resources with your patients and loved ones.

Please stay healthy and safe.


Gabrielle A. Carlson, MD
President, AACAP