One year ago this weekend, white nationalists descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia for a "Unite the Right" protest. Their goal: build tension, create chaos, and create a platform for their hatred.
The alt-right, white supremacist, neo-Nazi “movement” wasn’t new. It wasn’t born from Trump’s election. They were right here, in our midst, all along. Trump’s campaign merely shone a spotlight on this movement, his victory emboldening and empowering them to come out of the shadows.
We’ll never forget the images of screaming white supremacists with tiki torches storming a park at night. Or white men with weapons beating DeAndre Harris right in front of a police station. Or a car speeding through a street filled with protestors that ultimately killed Heather Heyer, a local activist with Democratic Socialists of America.
We’ll also never forget the brave activists -- from Black Lives Matter to multi-faith clergy to Democratic Socialists -- who put their bodies on the line to stand up to their hate.
Charlottesville is an incredibly painful moment in our nation’s history. And it’s a painful reminder of the harm a small group of individuals can inflict when fueled by violence, and silence from other white people for far too long.
That pain can be all-consuming, if you let it. It’s easy to recall these horrific acts and retreat, isolate, or feel shame or anger.
But we must recall what we did one year ago today. Out of pain, we all rose up to reclaim our power back from hate and to honor Heather’s legacy. Dozens of community organizations, activists, and budding Indivisible groups joined to mourn, and then to take action. That hope that we rebuilt as a community has kept us going, and we continue to do the work to denounce white supremacy each and every day.
As Indivisibles, we fight to protect our families and our communities from the Trump Administration. We fight to protect our health care. We fight to keep families together. We fight to elect members of Congress who’ll go to Washington, DC and stop the Trump agenda.
And in our commitment to fight back against the Trump agenda, we must also double down to reject racism, anti-Semitism, anti-blackness, Islamophobia, and all forms of hate and oppression.
We’ve updated our resource on fighting white supremacy in your communities. Take a look this weekend, read through it, and think about ways you can recommit to:
- Examine and recognize your own privilege, and know that owning your privilege is a necessary first step is working towards the liberation of others.
- Further educate yourself and those closest to you (your loved ones, family, friends) about the importance of fighting back against white supremacy.
- Take time to consider those who are most impacted by white supremacy and center those voices in your activism or #resistance.
This weekend, we remember and mourn what happened last year in Charlottesville. And the alt-right will commemorate the weekend as well by coming straight to our nation’s capital for “Unite the Right 2.”
In short, the fight to dismantle white supremacy never stops. Fighting white supremacy is about more than just coming together one day a year.
We must stand with -- and support -- organizations led by people of color who did this work long before Donald Trump was in the national spotlight. These are just a few organizations that are in our hearts and minds this weekend: national organizations like Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), and Law for Black Lives; and local organizations like Beloved Community Charlottesville, Congregate Charlottesville (an interfaith coalition), and UVA's Black Student Alliance.
Fighting the Trump agenda is about fighting white supremacy to its very core. To bring change, we must show the alt-right and this administration that love will always be stronger than hate.
Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin
Co-Executive Directors of the Indivisible Project