Last year, Charlottesville became an international “symbol” of far-right extremism. Residents of our city suffered ongoing harassment, violence, and racism over the course of the summer, culminating in the deadly rallies on August 11 at the University of Virginia and August 12 in downtown Charlottesville. Organized by local fascists, white supremacists near and far gathered to directly harm us under the guise of free speech. They did so with impunity. They murdered Heather Heyer. They injured dozens. They scarred hundreds.
A year later and we are still suffering from the fallout of the rallies, while continuing the struggle against white supremacy in Charlottesville. The threats from fascists have continued to endanger us. Constant abuse and harassment of local activists has dramatically harmed their lives. Among this far-right danger, we have had to face an indifferent city government, a court system that sides with white supremacists, an unaccountable police force, a University that refuses to take responsibility, and those who value “civility” over justice.
We must recognize that while the events of Summer 2017 were eye-opening for many, the fight against white supremacy here in Charlottesville has been taking place for decades. This fight has been led by those who are most affected by fascism and white supremacy — people of color, the LGBTQ community, native peoples, disabled people, and people in working or lower income classes. We must recognize that racism did not “come” to Charlottesville. It has lived and thrived here since the beginning. We must recognize that our Jewish comrades are confronting violent antisemitism perpetuated by Nazis. We must recognize all of our community defenders, such as Corey Long, DeAndre Harris, Donald Blakney, and Emily Gorcenski. We must recognize all of our victims of white supremacy, such as Sage Smith and John Henry James. We stand in solidarity with these people and in acknowledgment of their struggles.
This year, the fascists responsible for our pain will return to Charlottesville. They plan to spread their violent agenda in Washington D.C., in Portland, and in Berkeley. We ask that you join us in solidarity to confront these events and protect our communities, as fascism and racism must not spread unchallenged. If you are unable to be present, we ask that you support our efforts by promoting these principles everyday:
- Celebrate and center local resistance led by marginalized communities
- Decenter whiteness, and center and protect marginalized peoples
- No platform for white supremacy
- No “both sides” narrative
- The cops and the klan go hand in hand
- Civility is tyranny
We ask that you join us in confronting all forms of white supremacy in your community, however explicit or subtle. Whether it is gentrification, policing, prisons, ICE activity, schooling, environmental injustice, inaccessibility, or capitalism, we must confront the ways racism and fascism intersect and structure our daily lives. As a DSA chapter we believe that building a better, socialist world is not possible without this anti-fascist work. And we specifically ask DSA chapters around the country to do their part in this struggle against white supremacy and fascism.
Charlottesville is not a symbol.
It is a place. It is a community.
It is people who keep each other safe.
Stand with us.
If you would like to provide material support to the anti-fascist efforts in Charlottesville, we ask that you make a donation to the Charlottesville Community Resilience Fund. Please share this link on social media and pass it along to your friends and family:
Signed in Solidarity,
Charlottesville Democratic Socialists of America