Former Congressional staffers are expressing their support for current employees through an online note project spearheaded by the Congressional Staff Alumni Council. So far, more than 350 former staffers have left notes on the project’s webpage.
During the January 6 attack on the Capitol, staffers played a critical role in keeping Congressional members safe. Many young staffers grew up performing school shooting drills and knew the routine—lights off, doors barricaded, no sounds.
Former staffers want to make sure current employees realize their efforts on January 6 did not go unnoticed. “We see ourselves in them,” says Marci Harris, a former Congressional staffer and the CEO and co-founder of POPVOX. “We can imagine what they’re going through. Some of them are the people who were around when we were there, and they’re our friends and colleagues. Others are so young, and they work so hard. They’re the ones whispering in the ears and writing the speeches. They’re not the ones that you hear about, and they’re often forgotten.”
The notes range in length and depth, expressing messages of gratitude, support and appreciation. A note left by Thomas McIntyre says, “Keep it up. You’re the mantel of democracy. It’s hard but keep us centered! Please.” Another written by Naomi Seiler reads, “Thank you for your courage, your persistence, and your work to uphold democracy. You guys are the glue holding together what makes our country what it is. I am so grateful for you.”
Harris says it’s important to remember that this was an incredibly traumatic event for Congressional staffers that came after ten months of other traumatic events, including an increasing number of calls from constituents in dire situations. “They went right back to work,” she says. “They haven’t stopped and some of them haven’t even processed yet what they’ve been through.”
Recipients of the missives are definitely feeling the love. “As we’ve shared the information with current staffers,” Harris says, “we’ve gotten a few notes back that were so sincere and sweet—just thanking us.”