RALEIGH, N.C. — The House Committee continues to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The events of that day are shaping the lives of some students who watched it here in North Carolina.
What You Need To Know
- Charlie Hatch, 20, was center-right before going to Meredith College in Raleigh
- Hatch lived in a rural part of North Carolina where she went to high school with white nationalists, similar to January 6 protesters
- Hatch, who is now a Democrat, changed her political thinking after educating herself and having open conversations
Charlie Hatch, 20, went to high school in Dudley, North Carolina, which is a rural and deep red part of the state. Before beginning her undergraduate studies at Meredith College in Raleigh, she thought of herself as center-right.
“A lot of people come from those kind of backgrounds, where they’re coming from places that are very white-centered and are only taught certain things, or at least what makes white people comfortable,” Hatch said. “I remember in my AP U.S. History class, my teacher told us that slavery was not as bad as people are making it out to be.”
When she sees white nationalists in action like some of the protesters on January 6, it reminds her of people she went to high school with. Hatch, who was born in Guatemala, was adopted by Americans, both of whom are pastors.
“I was raised in a very liberal household. I think I was more influenced by my friends and everything because it’s more like, 'oh, that’s just what your parents say,'” Hatch said. “The school I was in, I took a lot of AP classes, and that was mostly filled with white people, white Republican people.”
Since then, she has changed her political views. Hatch now identifies as a Democrat. In fact, she’s the president of Meredith College Democrats. She says she grew a lot since coming to college because of her classes and conversations.
“Dialogue that I have with friends. I mean a lot of the reasons I did have those [views] is because I was having them [conversations] with white people,” Hatch said. “And so to have conversations with other marginalized communities is incredibly important.”
Hatch says she doesn’t speak to any of her old high school friends, and has no plans to.
“Part of me doesn’t necessarily blame them because they haven’t experienced anything else. But, also we’re in college and they still have those beliefs. And at that point you’re choosing to be ignorant.”
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The January 6 insurrection motivates Hatch to educate herself even more. She is a long way from Guatemala and a long way from her high school where she witnessed racial hate.
“I don’t think that I would be who I was today without that struggle,” Hatch said. “I definitely wouldn’t be so involved with politics or humanitarian issues if I didn’t see what I saw going to high school.”
Hatch is doing a double major in religion and politics. When she graduates in two years, she wants to go to law school to become an immigration attorney.