January 6, 2021 started with hope, as the groundbreaking outcome of two senatorial runoff elections in Georgia showed what’s possible when people organize and voters turn out to have their voices heard.

But hope quickly turned to horror and disgust as the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol erupted. It was an affront to our democracy, a clear display of systemic racism, and a terrifying reminder of how vulnerable we are to forces of division, especially when those forces are stoked by the president himself. The violence and hatred that tore into the literal halls of our democracy this week must be repudiated in the strongest of terms by Americans of every political party, age, race, and creed.

As the day turned to night, glued to the news, I was deeply struck by insights from CNN commentator Van Jones. “We don’t know what we’re looking at yet,” he said. “Is this the end of something? Or the beginning of something? Is this the death throes of something ugly in our country? … Or are these birth pains of a worse disorder?”

It was heartening that Congress reconvened swiftly to certify the presidential election results, taking an important step back from the precipice—from the deadly, demonizing tribalism that has been fracturing lives, damaging our democracy, and dismaying our friends around the world. But it will take all of us to make this terrible moment the beginning of something better.

ClimateWorks Foundation is devoted to tackling climate change. But we are well aware that responsible leadership, good governance, real civic engagement and dialogue, and commitment to anti-racism are also fundamental to securing a stable climate and a prosperous future. Everyone must stand up and help repair the damage to our nation that was on brutal display in this week’s insurgency.

We look forward to playing our small part in the necessary nationwide effort to rebuild Americans’ faith in each other, in our democracy, and in our shared future.

With hope and determination,

Charlotte Pera