As the Stern team mourns the unfathomable events that took place at our nation’s Capitol building on January 6th, we felt an urgent need to publicly denounce the destructive and violent acts that we witnessed with horror and sadness. It was not only an attack on our democracy but a blatant attempt to flout the rule of law.

What took place was neither ambiguous nor tolerable. These were illegal and tragic steps taken by many. Those found guilty must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, not only for the sake of justice, but to send a clear message, especially to our children, about the importance of accountability for one’s actions – that decisions have consequences.

Clearly, the world has become more polarized in recent years. When it comes to beliefs and value systems, there will always be people who disagree with each other. As a company and as individuals we encourage healthy debates and thoughtful expression. We also believe in the right to protest in a legal and rational fashion, and we certainly don’t take our freedoms for granted. But those who willfully cause harm to others and violate the law must be held accountable.

What took place in D.C. was not a protest. It was an armed insurrection against our government. To say it was anything less insults our intelligence, beliefs and our nation’s Constitution. While the actions sickened us, the unfortunate truth is we were not surprised to see history repeat itself.

Though we feel disheartened, we are looking ahead with optimism. It is our hope that the lessons learned from this and other recent unfortunate events will generate a commitment to building trust and honest communication across our country’s political and social divides to reach a far more enlightened, compassionate future. In fact, we demand this.

Still the question remains, can and will we learn and act on the lessons? For us to stay united as a nation, we must commit to actively promoting truth, dispelling myths and defusing polarity. We must work hard to fight biases by better educating people on our country’s full history and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in all areas of life. Many of us have been active in these areas but there’s much more to do.

We look forward to joining hands with you in these efforts. In the meanwhile, wishing you and your loved ones health, safety, peace and a more benevolent 2021 and beyond.