Charlottesville

As America Reacts to Charlottesville, How Will We Take Action?

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Following the completely unacceptable white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville that started with violent protests at the University of Virginia, many reactions of those in power were mixed. While our country’s leaders should be universally condemning the events as to say that they stray from the ideals of liberty and justice for all is an understatement, some called for action, some expressed an appropriate degree of grief, and some… didn’t even acknowledge the seriousness of the situation.

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Eventually, the White House’s statement was changed to acknowledge that the attacks came from white supremacists. But initially, while President Trump acknowledged the hateful and violent nature of the attacks, he failed to acknowledge the fact that they were rooted in white supremacy. Which isn’t surprising, considering the immigration reforms he attempted to implement at the beginning of his term as President, and his rhetoric surrounding those of other races.

 

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Former Vice President Joe Biden responded to President Trump’s initial press conference, in which he declared that there is hatred and bigotry on “many sides” of the situation. Just as in the tweet above, the press conference failed to acknowledge the white supremacist basis of the rallies. And he’s right.

 

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And earlier in the day, long before POTUS even made a statement, Uncle Joe called us to action, too.

 

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Senator Bernie Sanders nailed it all. He called a spade a spade — in this case, the spade being the fact that this is an incident rooted in white supremacy. He then reminds us that what happened in Charlottesville has become a way of life, and hate crimes are a real, unfortunate fact.

 

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POTUS 44 quotes one of the greats to express how unacceptable this event is — but also, expresses just how easy it is to love instead of hate. Love takes much less energy.

 

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Senator Elizabeth Warren also called a spade a spade, and good for her. She didn’t shy away from terminology that isn’t reality, didn’t sugar-coat with euphemisms, and called us all to action. We tend to shy away from words like “Neo-Nazi” because collectively, we operate under the belief that we conquered white supremacy following the ending of the Holocaust. In actuality, groups like the KKK continue to have a presence.

 

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Sally Yates echoed Warren — and pointed out just how it easy it is not to beat around the bush.

 

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Yes, Senator Mike Huckabee, yes. But not entirely sure where your call to action is.

 

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Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, asks us all to take action. There’s a difference between hate speech, violence, and free speech.

 

Millennials, where does this leave us? Those in power are telling us to take action, but we shouldn’t need their cue in order to do it. The message is clear — this needs to end, and should have ended a long time ago. What will you do today to change this culture?

 

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

Charlottesville

It’s Time to Face the Facts: In Charlottesville, White Supremacy is a “Regular Part of Life”

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Is anyone else tied of waking up to upsetting news that shows how far we still have to come as a country?

In the wee hours of the morning of August 12th, 2017, the news of a white nationalist rally taking place on the University of Virginia campus, that took place the night before, was everywhere. And more protesting beyond August 12th is expected, as the events on campus were merely a “lead-up” to a larger gathering.

Who is behind this particular event?
ThinkProgress compares the extremists to a KKK-type group, but they are not made up of members of the KKK itself. However, the report also states that the extremists are made up of “hundreds of white, mostly male protestors.” National Policy Institute and “founding figure” of the white supremacy movement Richard Spencer, as well as Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler were both in attendance.

Why the University of Virginia?
The ThinkProgress report discusses the significance of the Thomas Jefferson statue on campus (and TJ was very vocal in legislation working to end slavery), and the university’s proximity to the Robert E. Lee statue in the surrounding city of Charlottesville. City officials have called for the removal of the Lee statue, resulting in similar protests throughout the city that have “become a regular part of life.” Something important to question here: if the rallies have been happening, why is this one receiving widespread media attention?

How did the local authorities react?
“I am beyond disgusted with this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus,” Charlottesville Mayor Mike Singer said. While that’s a great quote and sounds like the perfect thing for the mayor to say, if these rallies have been happening long before this one, how come more hasn’t been done to stop them from becoming a “regular part of life?” Not to mention, ThinkProgress also reports that Singer has “come under criticism from local Black Lives Matter activists for not doing more to address the white nationalist rallies” in the area. The local police, however, removed both extremists and press at the first indication that this rally was not going to be a peaceful one.

Who else was in attendance?
Counter-protestors, made up of locals as well as University of Virginia students and others, sat vigil in a prayer service at nearby St. Paul’s Church when the extremists descended on the campus. The counter-protestors took to the Thomas Jefferson statue spreading messages of acceptance — including, but not limited to, Black Lives Matter.

Okay, we’ve heard the facts. Now, what does this mean for us? 
Most importantly, it means that we have a very long way to go as a country if these groups even exist in the first place, let alone the fact that they are protesting on college campuses. It means that there’s a lot we don’t even realize is happening — as evidenced by the fact that these rallies have been taking place in Charlottesville prior to this one, yet this is the first we’re hearing about it. It means that while we may find ourselves believing we have achieved a culture of acceptance, these events are happening in our own country and it takes a violent protest of this magnitude to force us to face a harsh reality. It means that we can’t ignore past events and rhetoric because if we do, this is what’s going to happen. And it means that we must never, ever lose sight of the spirit and true meaning of liberty and justice for all.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.