Saturday, August 12, 2017

CNN -- State of emergency declared amid violence at Charlottesville's 'Unite the Right' rally

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency because of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville that began on Friday night and continued on into Saturday. White supremacist were protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

In February, the city council voted to remove the Lee statue, but that is on hold pending litigation. Two city parks that were named after Confederate generals were renamed, including Emancipation Park, the site of Saturday's rally.

The Mayor of Charlottesville expressed outrage at the gathering of white nationalists. 

“Today, in 2017,” he said, “we are . . . seeing a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march” in the hometown “of the architect of our Bill of Rights. . . .I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus.”

“The fear we instill in them today only fuels our victory tomorrow,” one white supremacist wrote on Twitter and retweeted by Richard Spencer, one of the nation’s most prominent white nationalists.

Robert Reich asks, “What has Trump unleashed? Last night, hundreds of far-right demonstrators wielded torches as they marched on to the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville chanting slogans like “You will not replace us” and [the Nazi-era slogan]“Blood and soil.” They then attacked a much smaller group of counter-protesters who had linked arms around a statue of Thomas Jefferson.

I lived through the Civil Rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement. They both split America. But at least they were based on ideals about justice and fairness. 

I too witnessed first hand the cruelty brought upon African Americans throughout the South. And, I so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during anti-Vietnam protests at an MIT lab in Cambridge Massachusetts. Both the Civil Rights rallies and the Vietnam anti-war protests were extremely violent. To many of us, the Charlottesville images brought back memories of torch-lit Ku Klux Klan rallies. We don’t want to turn the clock back to those times of extreme hatred and violence. But Donald Trump has certainly led us there. White supremacist make up a majority of Trump’s supporters and largely responsible for putting Donald Trump at the helm of our country.

By Jason Hanna, Kaylee Hartung, Devon M. Sayers, and Nicole Chavez