This weekend, events at the University of Virginia revealed the consequences of systemic and insidious white supremacy.
We saw hundreds of predominantly white men show up for a “Unite the Right” rally with torches and bats. When they were met by anti-racist protestors, we looked on in horror as one neo-Nazi drove his car through the crowd, killing one and injuring many others.
We watched as law enforcement — who showed up with guns, tanks, and tear gas at Ferguson and Standing Rock — allowed armed white supremacists to advance in Charlottesville.
And we heard the grotesque response from Donald Trump, who condemned violence “on many sides,” without initially naming those neo-Nazis who were responsible for the violence. Trump then told us to “cherish our history” — in the aftermath of a rally to protect a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.
It’s clear that our president doesn’t just placate and empower vile racists, but shares their agenda.
White supremacy didn’t just crop up this weekend — and in Charlottesville itself, there is a legacy of racism that is mirrored in cities in towns across the United States. It has been grounded in our institutions and policies since the beginning. Slavery morphed into Jim Crow, and Jim Crow into mass incarceration, housing and wage discrimination, and exclusion from well-funded schools. And white supremacist movements have been there all along.
As we send our love and support to the community and mourn the loss of Heather Heyer, we are reinforcing our commitment to push for equity in our economy, our climate, and our foreign policy.
We stand with the brave organizers and demonstrators who showed up in Charlottesville this weekend to condemn white supremacy. We’ll continue our work to develop and amplify policy solutions that are influenced by these voices on the frontlines.
For those proclaiming shock and distance from these events and decrying: “this is not us,” we urge you to step back and review decades of violence against people of color in America and see that this, indeed, is us. But it doesn’t have to be. Each of us can take action today and in the days to come to transform this system of injustice.
You can find an event near you here to stand with Charlottesville and unite against white supremacy.
With love and in solidarity,