January 6 Insurrection: One Year Later, Families Are Still Divided

This is what it’s like to be the child of a January 6 insurrectionist.

By Fotesa Latifi | teenVODGUE

A week before his dad joined the crowd that stormed the U.S. Capitol, Jackson Reffitt called the FBI. His dad had been talking about doing “something big” and Jackson was worried about what that meant. Either way, the 19-year-old wanted the weight off his shoulders. 

A few days after alerting the FBI to his father’s statements, Jackson checked his family group chat and found out his dad was at the Capitol insurrection. In text messages obtained by Teen Vogue, Jackson’s younger sister wrote, “dad, please be safe !! you know you are risking not only your business but ur life too.” Jackson’s dad, Guy Reffitt, wrote back: “I have no intentions on throwing it away. I love ALL of you with ALL of my heart and soul. This is for our country and for ALL OF YOU and your kids. God Bless us one and all….”

Guy Reffitt is one of an estimated 710 people facing federal charges for swarming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an apparent attempt to overthrow the election that resulted in Joseph Biden being the 46th president of the United States. Urged on by Donald Trump’s insidious lies about election fraud, rioters reportedly screamed “Trump sent us!” at Capitol Police officers. Some of the officers have since sued the former president for his role in inciting the riot. Four people died at the Capitol that day and five more died in the months after, bringing the death toll to nine. 

As the insurrection unfolded on television, Jackson says he got a phone call from the FBI asking him to confirm that his father was at the Capitol, which Jackson did. As he struggled with the idea that his father was part of an attempted coup of the United States government, Jackson says his father texted news reports to the family group chat with photos of himself at the Capitol. Friends texted, too, asking Jackson if the images they were seeing on television were really of his father. 

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