We Need to Talk About What Happened in Charlottesville: Why Silence is Betrayal

“Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Wiesel

By now, if you haven’t heard about Charlottesville, you must be living in la la land. It’s been covered by every online news source and television program, as well as plastered all over social media platforms. Most Americans are shocked and outraged at the brazen display of clear hatred, but there’s also a terrifying number of citizens who think that the violence on “both sides” is to blame (*cough* the president… *cough*). Let’s get one thing straight: likening the Nazi rally in Charlottesville to anything Black Lives Matter or any other minority activist group has done is ludicrous. And quite frankly, I can’t believe I even have to say that…but let me explain. The comparison of white supremacists (whites are the master race) to Black Lives Matter (stop murdering black people) is mind-blowingly ignorant, bigoted and down-right stupid. A white supremacist plowed down 20 people, killing Heather Heyer, and injuring the rest. A group of Nazis brutally assaulted a young black activist, Deandre Harris, with poles. So, while these terrorists are actively killing people-innocent Americans-BLM demonstrators have, at worst, destroyed property and caused chaos.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s address the irony that is “Confederate Patriotism”. If you passed middle school history, you’d know that you can’t be pro-Confederate and a patriotic American. You’d literally be a walking oxymoron. You can argue it’s history and heritage, but some parts of history belong in a museum, not on a pedestal. It’s really that simple. This has nothing to do with persevering history and everything to do with the crazy God complex of white men who believe equality for everyone is a direct target at their rights.

But the biggest problem isn’t the Nazis and the white supremacists rallying in the streets making their bigotry known. It’s the white folks at home who watch them rallying and say nothing. Don’t get my words twisted, I’m in no way blaming all white people for the actions of a fraction of them. I am, however, calling the privileged to do something. Stand up, speak out, stop hate. Not condemning something so glaringly wrong is basically a statement saying you can’t be bothered enough to care. But what can you do? I’ve compiled a list of a few ways you can actively participate to end the hate.

 

Donate and volunteer

  1. C-ville Victim Relief Fund-everything raised will be given to the city of Charlottesville to help support the victims https://www.gofundme.com/united-cville-victim-relief
  2. Deandre Harris-funds go towards his medical bills https://www.gofundme.com/i-was-beaten-by-white-supremacists
  3. Stop Hate Project-actively working to combat the hate incidents that take place in the U.S. http://8449nohate.org/get-involved/

Other organizations to donate to: Brody Jewish Center, NAACP Albemarle-Charlottesville, Black Student Alliance at UVA, Charlottesville Pride, IMPACT Charlottesville

(list from: https://medium.com/@SaraJBenincasa/what-to-do-about-charlottesville-dfc7d6636d56)

*Note: campaign fund for Heather Heyer’s family is now closed*

Call out hate

  1. Report acts of hate and discrimination to places like Reveal http://www.revealnews.org
  2. Keep the dialogue going via facebook, twitter, and other social media. Have a conversation with friends, family, and even strangers about why their silence, indifference, or complacency is just as hurtful as the bigotry itself.

Talk to your local representatives

  1. Ask (it’s as easy as a phone call, email or tweet) your governor and state legislature to issue a statement in regard to Charlottesville and ask them to openly condemn racism and anti-Semitism https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

 Attend a Protest

  1. Find a protest near you via Indivisible http://act.indivisibleguide.com/event/stand-in-solidarity-with-charlottesville/search/ or plan to join on the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ brave stand at the nation’s capital https://www.facebook.com/events/135303627076552/

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -MLK Jr.

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