The situation of violence and hatred led by Alt-Right (Nazi/KKK) groups in Charlottesville sickened me and I could not tear myself away from following what was happening via Twitter all weekend. I weep for those injured and killed in an act of terrorism. I cried a lot this weekend. I’m still working on turning those tears into action, trying to figure out how I can help. There are many ways, one of which is to SPEAK UP! We must reject hatred fully and not let it slip by in our silence. This isn’t the first time something of this magnitude has happened. We defeated it in the past, we will do it again. I wish we needn’t have this conversation, but here we are 2017 dealing with thousands of individuals who came to “march” armed with batons and rifles, turning to violence because they feel oppressed or some other unfounded idea. Hint: whatever they say they are marching for, it’s actually masking their disgusting racism and xenophobia. They marched wearing shirts quoting Hitler and the KKK. They carried Nazi and Confederate flags. They used chants traced back to the Nazi regime and even included salutes. They claim they are victims. Then one of them raced his car into a group of people marching for equality and love, injuring 17 and killing one woman, Heather Heyer (whose last facebook update was “if you are not outraged, you are not paying attention). But all of us who followed the events of the weekend know this. What about the world outside of the US?
I teach English online and many of my students are at a fairly high conversation level and want to discuss articles and current events. I said to a few “okay sure, do you know what’s happening right now in America? In Virginia?” No one knew. I mentioned briefly, in easy to comprehend (the words, not the reasoning) terms. They were horrified. No other reaction. Horror. We discussed the evil and crazy people all around the world. The Nice and London were mentioned. I am assuming it was because the events were still unfolding that they hadn’t heard. They were sad. Not one person questioned the evil. Not one person asked about the violence “on many sides”. One of my French friends linked me an article (in french, so it took me forever to read) that France was reporting on Charlottesville as it was happening. The world is watching. How we respond matters. I’ve honestly had many students tell me they used to want to go to America, but not now (this is before the weekend, but due to politics of today).
I am still processing and I am scared. I will work to end hate in this country and I hope you will stand with me. I urge you to watch Twitter to know more and more ways to help (but take breaks. It’s emotionally exhausting). There is hope. Millions of people are standing against this terror and hate. It’s sad it wasn’t denounced before now as killings in the name of these groups have already happened (remember the two victims, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, in the Portland stabbing). We cannot continue to accept these are fringe, isolated incidents. Also, I am disgusted that Trump did not actually take a solid stance and speak out against the Nazis/KKK/Alt-Right nor call it an act of terror. We must do better.
Seek the light in the darkest of times. Try to stay positive. I don’t know.