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‘Hard to Lay Down Anger So That I Could Pray’—Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester Says of Her Fervent Prayer During Capitol Siege

Delaware’s first Black congresswoman, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, was seen on video fervently praying as a pro-Trump mob violently stormed and vandalized the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday.

“Peace in the land, peace in this country, peace in this world. Lord, we’re asking…” the Democratic congresswoman could be heard saying as she prayed and lifted a hand heavenward in footage broadcast by British network ITV News and other media outlets.

After similar footage of her prayer from a perch of safety was picked up by news networks in her state, Rep. Rochester published a message on Twitter, ensuring her constituents that she was indeed safe.

“Thank you to everyone who has reached out with their prayers and concerns. I am safe and in a secure location,” she tweeted.

Rep. Rochester later published a video statement expressing her commitment to fulfilling her duty in Congress, and also revealing her mindset during that snippet of prayer seen across the media and online.

“I ask [for] your continued prayers for our safety here, but also for the healing of this country. And there’s so much that needs to be done, so many people who are hurting and we just need to love each other. And love is not easy,” she said.

“So for anybody who thinks that that is a Pollyanna notion, it’s not easy. I know that. Because even when I was up in the balcony of the Capitol when the House was going through what it was going through, there was just an anger that I felt, that— ‘why are we even in this situation right now.’

“And it was very hard to lay down that anger so that I could even just pray. I couldn’t even pray, that’s how sad and upset I was. But in doing that, I could pray for healing, I could pray for peace, I could pray that we understand our purpose is to love. Love yourself. Love each other. Love this planet. And if you believe like I do, love God. When you do those things, you don’t see what we saw today,” Rep. Rochester said.

Rochester co-chaired Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and also served on the President-elect’s vetting committee for a vice-presidential candidate. She, along with other representatives and senators, had gathered for the 117th session of the U.S. Congress to certify Biden’s presidential victory when a massive crowd of predominantly White rioters, some of them presumably Christians, stormed the Capitol grounds.

A video circulating online shows officers of the local Metropolitan Police Department in one area removing security barriers to allow the mob to flood the grounds. The rioters eventually made it inside the halls of Congress, prompting Capitol police to pull their weapons, and use furniture, to try to hold them back. One woman, identified as military vet Ashli Babbitt, was fatally shot by Capitol police as she reportedly attempted to break into the House chamber. The local police chief reported that at least three others died during the Trump-incited riot, and that pipe bombs and molotov cocktails were found on the grounds. At least 14 people were arrested—a number that has drawn contrast to the thousands arrested during protests against police violence last summer.

The session of the 117th Congress eventually resumed as police in riot gear removed the mobs from the Capitol. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence oversaw lawmakers’ certification of the presidential election results, ensuring that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the country’s next president and vice president, respectively.

Update 01/09/2021: Access additional footage of Rep. Rochester’s prayer during the siege of the Capitol.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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