The events in Charlottesville last weekend may have irreversibly changed the way Americans deal with what is the lasting legacy of racism in our country. Gone are the days that those in the majority can conveniently sweep the very topic aside and proclaim we live in a post-racial world. Charlottesville has exposed our decaying underbelly of denial and lack of accountability.
Like many, we were caught off guard last weekend by the horrific events in Charlottesville. We were physically sickened by the overt display of racism and hatred espoused by the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and so-called white nationalists, who feel so emboldened by our present government leaders, that they do not even disguise themselves with hoods.
On Tuesday, August 15, that feeling of utter disgust and revulsion resurfaced with news of the President’s press conference in which he defended the alt-right with claims that the “alt-left” acted just as badly. Unfortunately, in this time of national concern for peace and safety in our communities, he continued to make that erroneous comment and other declarations that were conveniently fabricated.
While we support the rights endowed by the first amendment, WAND categorically rejects hatred, bigotry, racism, and violence. WAND also rejects the president’s interpretation of the events that occurred in Charlottesville last weekend. While WAND doesn’t condone violence in any form, it is important to clarify that in no way are those who stand up against hatred and bigotry equivalent to those who incite the destructive world view of white supremacy.
This is a call to action. Our only choice is to roll up our sleeves and work to make sure our country is safe for everyone. In keeping with WAND’s mission, to empower women to reduce militarism and violence and redirect federal budgetary funds towards unmet human needs, we have no option but to continue our important work. We value all of humanity and opportunity for all, regardless of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, or disability. It will not be easy, but we will--we must--prevail.
Member, WAND Board of Directors