Updated: Jan 19, 2022
Jennifer attended a vigil in Longmont to mark the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. This is the statement she made to those that attended.
My name is Jennifer Parenti. I live in Erie and I am a veteran, a community organizer, and since about two weeks ago a candidate for Colorado House District 19 representing Dacono, Erie, Firestone, Frederick, and East Longmont.
I want to thank everyone here for coming out in the cold tonight to show your support for democracy. It is under attack and has been since before the terrible events of last January and we need all principled Americans like you to come to its aid like never before.
I don't know about you but as I watched the events of last January 6th, I felt a sickness come over such as I hadn't felt since 9/11. I felt that wound as an American, as a voting rights activist, and most profoundly as a veteran who dedicated over 20 years of my life to defending this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Let there be no doubt in anyone's mind that the rise of extremism in our country is a national security threat, impacting every segment of our society and we must start treating it as such. I had squadron mates from the Air Force Academy and even neighbors from Erie present at the rallies and riots at the US Capitol. Experts have been sounding the warning bells for years of political radicalization within our armed forces and other segments of society but it took that brazen, horrific assault for people to finally listen. I'm glad eyes and ears have been opened, but at what cost?
There are three things you can do to help:
First, we must support our elected officials and law enforcement agencies who are investigating these crimes. We have to give them the backing they need to see this through and hold EVERY PERSON ACCOUNTABLE who gave comfort and aid to democracy's enemies that day.
Second, we need members of Congress to put partisan differences aside and fulfill their oaths to defend our democracy. They must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and Freedom to Vote Act today. The very foundation of our nation is at risk.
Finally, I encourage everyone listening to remember that this is not over. We must remain vigilant both nationally and here locally and elect representatives who will protect and preserve our democratic institutions -- for our children, our grandchildren, our community and our country.
Thank you for being here. And thank you to our amazing organizers for putting this together and inviting me to speak. I wish you all a very Happy New Year.