When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on Instagram Live on Monday night to share the full account of what happened to her on the day of the U.S. Capitol attack, she also shared a message to her colleagues. “My story isn’t the only story,” she said. “It’s far from the central story. But together we have 435 stories. And we need to tell them because every time a Republican gets on television and says, ‘We need to move on and forget about it,’ they need to be reminded about what they’re trying to absolve and excuse.”

In that spirit, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez organized an hour of speeches on the House floor on Thursday so that other members could follow in her footsteps and submit their experiences into the official record.

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Eight of her Democratic colleagues joined to give their own testimony about the trauma of that day; the resulting stories were raw, vulnerable, heartbreaking, and deserve to be heard. Watch a few below:

Rep. Rashida Tlaib

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The Michigan congresswoman began to cry as she recounted the threats she’s received since being elected to Congress and the relief she had that she wasn’t present during the attacks. “On my very first day of orientation, I got my first death threat,” she said. “I didn’t even get sworn in yet, and someone wanted me dead for just existing. More came later, uglier, more violent.”

“So what happened on January 6, all I could do was think Allah, that I wasn’t here,” she continued. She then explained that the trauma she experiences as a Muslim woman in Congress is only compounded by the fear she has for her staff, who are LGTBQ, Muslim, and Black. “I worry every day of their lives because of this rhetoric. I never thought they would feel unsafe here. So I ask my colleagues to please try not to dehumanize what’s happening. This is real…Please take what happened on January 6 seriously.”

Rep. Dean Phillips

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The congressman from Minnesota used his time to not only tell the story of what he experienced on Jan. 6, but to also offer an apology to his colleagues and constituents of color. “I was in this very room on January 6th when the insurrection began,” he said. “We know the feeling of being trapped in this room and believing that being taken hostage may be the best case scenario…we know what it feels like thinking that it’s a real possibility we would not see our families and loved ones again. We won’t forget.”

“But I’m not here this evening to seek sympathy or just to tell my story, rather to make a public apology,” he continued. “For recognizing that we were sitting ducks in this room, as the chamber was about to be breached, I screamed to my colleagues to follow me, to follow me across the aisle to the Republican side of the chamber so we could blend in…For I felt that the insurrectionists who were trying to break down the doors right here would spare us if they simply mistook us for Republicans. But within moments, I recognized that blending in was not an option available to my colleagues of color. So I’m here tonight to say to my brothers and sisters in Congress and all around our country, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. For I have never understood, really understood, what privilege really means. It took a violent mob of insurrectionists and a lightning bolt moment in this very room. But now I know. Believe me, I really know.”

Rep. Cori Bush

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Bush, who represents Missouri, likened the experience to her time protesting on the frontlines in Ferguson, where Black Lives Matter activists came face-to-face with militarized police. “I remember sitting in the office with my team and just thinking to myself, I feel like I’m back,” she said. “At this very minute, I feel like I’m back. I feel like this was one of the days out on the streets where the white supremacists would show up and starting shooting at us. This was one of the days when the police would ambush us from behind trees and from behind buildings, and all of sudden now we’re on the ground being brutalized. It felt like one of those days.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

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“We must get to the bottom of this,” said the congresswoman from Texas. “We can’t let individuals storm this building and call for the killing of the Vice President or the killing of the Speaker of the House or the putting on plastic cuffs on members of Congress. We can’t frighten members of Congress in their offices. We cannot allow this kind of attack on voices like the gentlelady from New York who simply wants to tell the truth. She has freedoms. So I’m here on the floor to say we shall not be denied. We’re never going to give up our love for democracy nor its vitality, nor are we going to let this country be dominated by the insurrectionists who came to this place to do nothing but act in a bloodthirsty manner. We’re not afraid of you.”

Rep. Peter Welch

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The Vermont congressman recalled what it was like to be in the House Chamber when the pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol building. He said, “I saw Capitol police officers with guns from their holsters, and I looked at these men and women and tried in that moment to imagine, what was it like for them? That they actually had to have a weapon out? They had families. They had responsibility, and whatever fear they may have felt, their duty was to protect us, and they were going to do it, no matter what. And oh how small I felt at that moment.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon

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The Pennsylvania congresswoman used her time to read an open letter signed by nearly 400 congressional staffers addressed to their senators. “They don’t often have a voice on this floor,” she said, “but their words are so raw and so heart-wrenching.”

From the letter, she read: “Many of us attended school in the post-Columbine era and were trained to respond to active shooter situations in our classrooms. As the mob smashed through Capitol police barricades, broke doors and windows, and charged into the Capitol with body armor and weapons, many of us hid behind chairs and under desks or barricaded ourselves in offices. Others watched on TV and frantically tried to reach our bosses and colleagues as they fled for their lives.” The staffers then urged their senators to convict former President Trump in the upcoming impeachment trial.

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