Congressional leaders have formed a support group to process the emotional aftereffects of the January 6 attack at the United States Capitol.
The group chat, The Gallery Group, was set up by Representative Pramila Jayapal, There are over two dozen lawmakers in the group.
Nikole Killion spoke to the lawmakers for a special report on CBS “This Morning.”
The lawmakers talked to Killion about the things they experienced while being locked in the House Gallery on January 6.
“Hearing the shot come from the Speaker’s lobby. And I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my God,” Representative Veronica Escobar said.
“The very next day we had a caucus call and I said something about being trapped in the gallery,” Representative Jayapal said. “I think all of us felt like we had been forgotten up there and immediately I got just dozens of texts from people saying, ‘I was in the gallery too.”
“That was the first time in my life that [I], personally, was in the receiving end of the violence of racism and our country. And since that, it has allowed me to understand it in a more visceral sense. Instead of just up here, also here,” Representative Jason Crow said.
Congressman Crow told Killion that the deadly attack gave him flashbacks to when he was in Iraq and Afghanistan working as an Army Ranger.
“For those of us who were people of color, there were different reactions,” Jayapal said. “So take off your member pin, I know I made a conscious decision – as did many of us – to leave the member pin on because it was the decision of, ‘Do you want to be recognized by the insurrectionists or what happens if you take it off and you’re not recognized by Capitol police?’ And so there were these beautiful moments in the group where there was a recognition of an experience that we didn’t have.”
The group shared with Killion how therapy is helping them cope.
“The tools that my therapist has given me to deal with the trauma, that has helped me tremendously,” Representative Escobar said. “It is important to share with people that trauma takes a toll, and that there is help out there, that there’s not shame in asking for help.”
The group says that the Gallery Group is a space for lawmakers to consult with each other about anything related to the January 6 insurrection.
“It’s been a really meaningful group to have. And a wonderful support network,” Representative Susan Wild said.