To summarize as simply as possible, a rally was organized by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia in response to local officials’ decision to remove a statue of confederate general, Robert E. Lee. The generally quiet town was overtook by racial slurs, violence, chemical irritators, and screams that “white lives matter.”
Protesters organized a torchlit march through the University of Virginia, echoing marches of Hitler Youth. The Unite the Right movement was met with a huge backlash of counter protesters, determined to fight against bigotry and hatred. Heather Heyer was killed by a car whose driver decided to plow into the counter protesters. Trump did not call out white nationalists or neo-Nazis, rather condemned hatred overall, from both sides.
For a more in depth summary, check out this article by The Washington Post.
While ignorance and hatred has by no means been hidden in the present and in the past, the rallies at Charlottesville are bringing white nationalism into the spotlight and catalyzing national response. It’s imperative to stand up against white supremacy. Here are some ways how:
Inform Yourself And Others
Change requires a foundation, and that’s knowledge. How can you advocate for your beliefs if you don’t have the facts to back up your points? It’s easy to get lost in the noise the media throws at you on any given day, “The Ten Cutest Puppies” and such. While these articles are certainly enjoyable, it’s important to push past them to stay informed and become involved in current movements. Also, social media is powerful. Use it to get your newfound (or prior) knowledge out there.
Here are some explanatory articles:
- Charlottesville protests: a quick guide to the violent clashes this weekend>>
- Unite the Right, the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, explained>>
- The battle over Confederate statues, explained>>
- The radicalization of white Americans>>
- White People: It’s Past Time To Denounce White Supremacy>>
More so, when dealing with modern day racism, it’s crucial to understand the historical roots of today’s happenings. The Nation states that “Fighting White Supremacy Means Owning Up to American History” in an informative, worthwhile article. There are patterns of justifying white supremacy throughout American history, and understanding those trends enables one to understand what is happening now in a clearer light.
Indifference supports the oppressor. White supremacy happens on a day to day basis and turning a blind eye to it allows it to thrive. Everyday Feminism writes ten ways in which white-supremacy shows up in our everyday lives. There’s a connection between microaggressions and larger, systematic racial inequality. If we’re infuriated by Charlottesville, we should be infuriated by everyday racism.
Hold your family, friends, peers, co workers, and that guy on facebook you haven’t seen in years accountable. If they say something racist, even without realizing it, it’s everyone’s job to say something. Support and advocate for inclusion in your workplace. And most importantly, check your own privilege. Analyze your own biases, because there inevitably are gonna be a handful.
Support Organizations That Fight Hate
Time and money are equally valuable. Taken from Mashable, here are a handful of organizations that are fighting for equality.
- Southern Poverty Law Center>>
- Anti-Defamation League>>
- Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP>>
- Black Lives Matter Charlottesville>>
- Stop Hate Project>>
- Charlottesville Solidarity Legal Fund>>
- UVA Black Student Alliance>>
Take Action Through Protests and Petitions
There are demonstrations going on across the country, especially after Charlottesville and the galvanization of those who will fight for equality is a force to be reckoned with.
If you aren’t sure how to get involved, there’s a lot of simples ways to find protests. There are local calendars, activist pages, twitter accounts and facebook events all dedicated to making activism accessible for all.
Refuse To Remain Indifferent
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference,” said Holocaust survivor, writer, and activist Elie Wiesel.
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