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Charlottesville: Words Matter
08.14.17
Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“Hate” is a powerful bullet of a word that carries the force of all destructive emotions behind it, unless it’s used as a euphemism in place of racism, as Donald Trump did in his statement on Charlottesville this weekend: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Here, the word fails to communicate truth. There was a group of white Americans who gathered to promote hatred, bigotry and violence on one side; there was a group of Americans who gathered in protest of this hatred, bigotry and violence on the other. Donald Trump’s words fail those who fight injustice. His words will fail to open the eyes of anyone who may not have previously wanted to see that racism exists. Religious intolerance exists. Xenophobia exists. Homophobia exists. Transphobia exists. Yes in America. Yes in 2017.

Euphemisms are employed to avoid conflict and confrontation. If it was “white nationalists” who gathered at Emancipation Park to protest the removal of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee’s statue, who was it that carried torches and held up Nazi flags and walked beside former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke as violence broke out?

White supremacists.

Who was it that slammed a car into a group of counter-protesters?

A terrorist.

Refusal to label white supremacists their due name for the sake of — I’m not sure what, keeping the peace? Not causing a disruption? Appealing to both sides? — only bolsters their cause. Silence is just as deafening. It sends a message that there’s no “right” side to take, that there’s no need for action or vocality if it’s disruptive or inconvenient. It enables apathy and breeds ignorance. It lets white supremacists so far off the hook that Neo-Nazis interpreted Trump’s statement as being in support of their cause. There is no being democratic or even-handed when it comes to white supremacy.

“On Saturday,” wrote New Jersey Senator Cory Booker in an Instagram-shared statement, “President Trump demonstrated a hateful hypocrisy in failing to name the Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, Alt-Right hate for what it is: not only the cause of the horrific violence in Virgina, but the evil enemy of our Nation’s hope and promise.”

Swipe for the full statement.

A post shared by Cory Booker (@corybooker) on

“It is up to us to do more than just look upon the violence and hate on display in Virginia with disapproval,” Senator Cory Booker said in slide two of the above post. In slide three: “Condemnation is expected. Anger is understood. But only hope, work, sacrifice and struggle will yield progress. The focus should not just be about what ‘they’ did in Virgina, but what we will do if we are to advance our nation toward greater justice.”

Indifference and inaction are complicity. Take a stand.

Below, resources to help you do so.
– Search by zip code to find a Charlottesville solidarity gathering near you
– Donate to the Charlottesville branch of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Donate to help Virginia youths injured in the rally
– Donate to support Alexis and Noelle Morris, who were both injured during the rally
– Donate to help cover medical expenses for anti-racist protesters who have been injured, both here and here
– Donate to the Black Lives Matter branch in Charlottesville
– Donate to the Black Student alliance at University of Virginia
– Donate to the Hillel branch at University of Virginia
Email the only synagogue in Charlottesville and tell them you’d like to donate
– Donate to help Deandre Harris, whose skull was cracked open by white domestic terrorists
Call your representatives if they haven’t condemned what’s happening in Charlottesville
– Make a donation to Charlottesville Pride, which supports the LGBTQ population in Charlottesville
Search Facebook for vigils near you
Donate to Southern Poverty Law Center to help felt the alt-right through legal advocacy
Donate to Charlottesville NAACP
The New York Times put together a guide on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Listen to the Times’ podcast, ‘The Daily’, to learn more as well
– Donate to the Minority Rights Coalition at University of Virginia
– Check out this list of resources organized by UVA faculty, spanning everything from counseling to finding scholarships for students from under-served groups.

If you have more to add, please share them in the comments below. We will update the list periodically.

For more posts on Man Repeller about how to channel your energy into activism, start with these five steps. A longer list of resources can be found here

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  • Millie Lammoreaux

    Thank you for posting this.

    Readers in Boston: there’s a Proud Boys (and other racist groups) rally planned for this Saturday on the Commons. LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD and protest their hate. White silence is violence. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2f1d62c76772f4e068421a33ba721a4de550713f0c1fdb8f92463098707b6c53.jpg

    • Kay

      Im thinking about coming up from NY for this. One of the white supremacy guys said they were really happy about last wknd and they’re going to be doing a lot more rallies, we need to be overwhelming in meeting them, with numbers, peace and nonviolence.

      • Millie Lammoreaux

        There’s a lot of confusion right now about whether these fucks have a permit for the event (I believe the Mayor – who has already denounced the event – is having a press conference soon), so stay posted before making the trip. Hopefully this ends before it even begins!

        • Kay

          Thanks for letting me know!! Hopefully it won’t happen!!

  • Hayley

    Beautifully written, thank you for posting this.

  • Rachel D.

    Thanks for writing & sharing this. More like this from MR, please.

  • Maria Fernandez-Davila

    Thank you for this! Beautifully written and this list of where to donate is great–shared immediately.

  • Well said, Amelia. Sickened by all these events and of course my first impulse is to bury my head in the sand because it’s so overwhelming and I don’t know even how I could begin to help make a difference. Thank you for this list, I really want to make a conscious effort to get involved… I know passivity is the same as defending injustice so… gotta get on that.

  • Alison

    UVa professor here. Another good group to support is DREAMers on Grounds: https://www.facebook.com/dreamersongrounds/. They advocate for undocumented people — especially students, workers, and their families — in and around Charlottesville. They’re part of the UVa Minority Rights Coalition (https://www.facebook.com/MRCatUVA/), an important student-led effort.

    Last fall, the faculty organized a list of resources, from counseling to finding scholarships, for students from under-served groups. It focuses on undocumented students, but a donation to any of these groups would help our efforts to combat white supremacy and the culture of privilege. http://dacauva.org/resources/

    Feeling sad, frustrated, and encouraged … all at once.

    • me

      Alison, I live in NoVa and my heart is breaking for Charlottesville. Thanks to all at UVA for staying strong.

      Amelia, Thank you for this helpful & thoughtful post. I’m checking out your list even as I type ….

      • Alison

        ❤️❤️❤️
        Sending lots of love to everyone who is hurting

    • Amelia Diamond

      Alison thank you for sharing these links, will include!

  • So pleased you posted this. I hope as many people, companies, etc see you doing this and are inspired to act in kind. Thank you!

  • this is important. thank you.

  • Andrea Raymer

    Thank you so much for writing this Amelia.

    Having grown up in Virginia, my heart is absolutely breaking for my home state right now. What terrifies me most is the imagery of Actual Militias gathering with guns and armor this weekend. So much of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were fought in Virginia and these images look straight out of a history textbook.

    I also find it so important as a Christian to speak out against this because they are taking my faith and my identity and using it to justify their hate and violence when everything they are doing is disgusting and offensive to the Word of Jesus.

    • CeterisParibus

      Christian faith has been taken to every battlefied and foxhole in which Europeans, Americans and South Americans have participated for centuries. Those are the facts tens of millions of times over. You are outnumbered, tens of millions of times over. Perhaps an instructive, critical look at what is happening NOW could relieve your dispair at history’s march.

      • Lil

        Every religion has been used for war and violence. Also she was just sharing her condolences…

        • CeterisParibus

          Once again, it is the NOW which matters. The time for dreamy slumber and the indifference of ignorance may have passed. Elegant despair is a posture in sympathy with one’s own selfishness. It is not an answer to the knocking on the door.

          • Kay

            Being broken hearted is not idle, elegant despair. We have to keep our feelings and our nuanced world views intact bc fights like these engender militancy and black and white thinking, and after this upheaval subsides we will need to knit this country back together again and find peace. Militancy won’t lead to peace but broken hearts looking for a way to be whole again will. Yes we need to get busy and do more than we are used to doing, but we should not set aside our feelings.

          • CeterisParibus

            Then go have a sad and I will turn over and go back to sleep knowing all is well. As for the rioters, the dead and injured? Well it wasn’t me and it might not happen again. After all there was no reason for it in the first place. This just in: The tooth fairy is on the way. Make your wish.

          • Lil

            How are we being indifferent? This article spreads awareness of the matter. As readers, we’re addressing the matter, and have also been made aware of how to contribute to the solution. Do you want to fly over to each of our states and sit next to us as we go about our days so you can be assured that each and every one of us are doing our parts?

          • CeterisParibus

            No.

          • Lil

            Then chill out.

          • CeterisParibus

            Shh, I’m trying to sleep.

          • Lil

            :)))))))))))

          • Ciccollina

            Preach.

      • Andrea Raymer

        Heres the thing the alt right living NOW that were in Charlottesville are living in the past.b all of their ideologies are things the HISTORICALLY we have already fought wars about. So history is clearly important as they are the ones trying to turn back the clock.

        And I am aware that the christian faith is there on every battlefield as it should be because faith is something that can sustain you even through the darkest horrors of war. However, I take issue when the Christian Religion is used by Satan to justify evil that is completely contradictory to the Gospel of Jesus. Especially because it steals my ability to share the love of God (which by the way is the entire point of Christianity). As a way to share that love I feel that I must speak out against the people using my religion for hate and violence just as I urge my Muslim friends to do the same whenever they feel like an act of radical islamic terrorism steals their identity.

        • CeterisParibus

          “…I take issue when the Christian Religion is used by Satan to justify evil that is completely contradictory to the Gospel of Jesus. Especially because it steals my ability to share…”
          Haven’t a clue.

    • anika

      99 percent of the time religion encourages people to speak up for what is right and help and love other, but their are some people who manipulate it into an excuse to do horrible things, and it’s embracing. Not just christianity but other religions too, and people tent to ignore all the good aspects of it and create a stereotype based on the bad.

  • I just moved to NYC from a town about half an hour from Charlottesville. I had a friend standing five yards from where the car crashed into the crowd of counter-protesters. There is a lot of that mindset around that area, and it’s disgusting what happened. I wish I had still been down there to stand with the others who know this hatred has no place in the modern world.

  • Anne Dyer

    Thank you, Amelia. I cried so much this weekend my eyes are still swollen. I am white, I grew up with three white brothers. I married a white man. I am raising two white boys. I feel overwhelmed with responsibility to the current population and future generation.

  • Jill Heller

    thank you so much for writing this and these resources. so beautifully written and easy to understand — especially for those (like myself) who find themselves not knowing what to do in a time like this, but don’t want to stay silent. thank you.

  • alex

    Long time reader, first time commentator. Thank you for using your platform to speak out against this–we have to use all the instruments at our disposal to ensure that no one thinks their hate and violence is welcome or ‘normal.’

  • Ciccollina

    Wonderful. I’m really thrilled that MR is taking a clear side on this. It is the responsibility of the media to condemn actions and groups that pose a threat to peaceful, civil society, so I am really glad you risked alienating a few readers to get this very important message out there. Thank you also for including the useful links.

    I was reading about Jimmy Fallon today – the Trump interview and his subsequent Charlottesville monologue – and getting so so angry. Apparently it literally did not occur to him that the Trump interview might help the Trump campaign, and that maybe that was a dangerous thing to do. Fallon’s failure to understand the weight of his actions is the embodiment of white, straight, male privilege. It’s too late for Fallon to get tearful and “speak out” and it’s blatantly hypocritical given that he was so eager to “humanise” Trump, have him on the show, tousle his hair. It’s ignorant or naive of him not to realise that these Neo-Nazi assholes are exactly who Trump represents. If he really cared about his daughters having role models he should have interviewed Hilary.

    In Germany it is illegal to be a Nazi, to use their salute, or the swastika. I would love to live in a world where every country had the benefit of hindsight that Germany does, where the terrifying reality of this kind of hatred still lives and breaths amongst the people that live here.

  • anika

    thanks for writing the list of resources.

  • Kelly Hickman

    Thank you for helping me to help others. <3