Since Friday evening, we have been deeply disturbed, saddened, and enraged by the waves of racist attacks surrounding the so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Charlottesville has become the latest flashpoint for emboldened white supremacists who primarily target Black and Brown people, while peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The community has been terrorized as this surging, hate-fueled movement marched through the city with slogans and chants that encouraged racist violence not only in Charlottesville, but across the United States.
At least three people have been killed to date in events set off by this violent, white nationalist campaign, with dozens more injured or in critical condition.
White supremacy is the first and oldest form of organized terrorism inflicted upon the stolen lands now known as North America, beginning with slavery and brutal land theft. While Donald Trump’s rhetoric and rule have certainly emboldened white supremacy and associated violence, yesterday’s events were not simply about one man or even one country. These forces existed long before Trump, and will continue when his time is up if we allow ourselves to ignore the problem at its core.
We at The Leap carry these truths with us as we reflect on the last few days:
First, this is not about one man, or one political party – it is about a system that has been in place for centuries and cannot be separated from any issue on the progressive agenda. The logic that allows explicit racism to flourish is the same logic that allows our planet to warm unchecked, harming Black and Brown people first and worst.
Second, we must stand with the victims, their families, and the people who are taking to the streets. We call on journalists and lawmakers to name yesterday what it was and is: terrorism. At the same time, we recognize that when highly militarized governments invoke a “state of emergency,” as has taken place in Virginia, hard-won liberties are at severe risk.
Finally, we recognize that the goal of those who are carrying out these heinous acts was not realized. Their plan backfired, because yesterday we witnessed the busting down of single-issue silos as people of all races, faiths, gender identities, and socioeconomic status came together, united in a single voice against white supremacy.
We said “No” as part of the process of moving to the “Yes,” a world where we care about the planet while caring for each other and the scourge of white supremacy is dismantled and challenged at every turn.
This is where you come in. We need you to join us to help build the “Yes.” There are solidarity vigils across North America that you can join and take action in. Click here to find the closest one near you or start your own.
Finally, make sure your voice is heard in your community and add your own message of solidarity on social media, using the hashtag #Charlottesville or #SolidarityWithCharlottesville.
No matter who you are, your own background, or that of your family members or loved ones, your solidarity is necessary to build a better world. Now is the time to stand together.
In love and light as we fight for a better world,
Anthony Rogers-Wright, U.S. Organizer
Bilan Arte, Communications Lead
On behalf of The Leap Team