Statement from Richard Besser, MD, on Protecting Our Democracy

    • January 7, 2021

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) condemns in the strongest terms Wednesday’s events in Washington, D.C., when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Building—the seat of our nation’s legislative branch and an icon of American democracy. This mob violence—including the brandishing of Confederate flags and other symbols of hatred in the halls of Congress—is a poisonous assault on the fundamental values of our nation.

It is hard to find words to express our outrage strongly enough. The United States is a democracy rooted in a promise of justice, and RWJF is guided by the principles of respect, evidence, collaboration, inclusion, and leadership. We believe these are enduring values of a free and equitable society, and to abandon them is to abandon democracy.  

Simply put, we the people are better than this. We must be better than this. At RWJF, we will continue working to ensure that every person in America has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being by removing obstacles to health including racism, marginalization, and powerlessness.


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937