By Oluwatomike Adeboyejo
The “Unite the Right” rally held by white supremacist organizations in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one dead and 19 injured when a car bulldozed through a crowd of counter-protesters Saturday.
“I am furious & heartsick by the car crash that has injured many,” tweeted Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer. “Please all-go home to your families. We can work tomorrow. GO HOME! PLEASE!” Signer pleaded with white supremacists and counter-protesters over twitter, after the suspect James Alex Fields, Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, used his grey Dodge Challenger to plow through a crowd.
White nationalist organizations, such as American Vanguard, attended the rally to protest the removal of confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue from a local park. David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, attended the rally reinforcing white nationalist values.Witnesses from the protest said a heavily armed white nationalist militia was also present.
Many representatives and senators such as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was disgusted by the protest and condemned the actions of white nationalist organizations by referring to them as domestic terrorism.
The night before the rally, a mob of students and alt-protesters marched through the University of Virginia carrying flame lit torches shouting “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us.” During the march, the mob confronted a group of counter protesters, which led to a brawl according to The New York Times.
“I think that such events are occurring now mostly because people feel like they can spread hate through racist comments and actions without getting reprimanded from those in power, namely the president,” said Makuachi Ekwunife, a public health major at this university.
Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, the senior republican of the Senatorial Committee, responded by urging President Trump to take action against white supremacy by tweeting, “Mr. President-we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
Within the last few months there has been a growing number of white nationalists taking part in prejudice actions.
Last spring at this university the white nationalist group American Vanguard posted fliers around campus saying, “Defending your people is a social duty not an anti-social crime” and “We have a right to exist.”
Students such as Kelci Fitzpatrick, a psychology major at this university believe the actions of white nationalist groups are repulsive.
“This is barbaric,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s barbaric that we are in the 21st century and you’re still yelling at people about their race. Like, we are still on that. Are you serious? there is no other word for it. It’s simply barbaric.”
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of davidtoc’s Flickr account.
Oluwatomike Adeboyejo is a junior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.