Last weekend, the city of Charlottesville, VA was flooded with groups of white nationalists and armed right-wing militants for a rally to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and generally flex some hateful muscle. They clashed with anti-racist and anti-fascist counter-protesters in the streets, causing Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency. Things quickly got messy, confusing and dangerous, and a nation is actively asking itself where it goes from here. This was by far the first public display of such blatant racism and hatred in 2017, and surely won't be the last.
One counter-protester was left dead and many more were injured after the violence turned lethal. The incident was perhaps the most blatant and unavoidable example of the deep racial divisions and inequality that have become increasingly visible since the 2016 presidential campaign and election of President Trump.
Mayors from across the country have been actively speaking out about what happened in Charlottesville, mostly decrying the racist rhetoric and behavior of the white nationalists. Now, activist groups, and everyday concerned citizens are taking action to reject bigotry and are standing in solidarity with the majority of Charlottesville residents who wanted to avoid the weekend's devastating events. Many are using the hashtag #Vigil4Cville as a way to show their support to affected community members and to honor the bravery of the counter-protesters who were willing to confront white supremacist groups.
Protests, candlelight vigils, and speak-outs and other events have already occurred across the country in places like Tucson, Austin, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Providence, Nashville, Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore, New Orleans, San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York City, and more.
If you want to get involved, and assuming a pro-Hitler, anti-American agenda isn't your thing, here's how you can do something positive in support for Charlottesville.
The Indivisible Project: The nonprofit dedicated to combatting President Trump's anti-progressive legislation has put together a guide for finding local Charlottesville solidarity events. Click on the map below to find a vigil, protest, or event near you.
If you can't manage that, head on over to Indivisible's site to plug in your zip code to find events. If there isn't a local solidarity event taking place where you are, you can create your own on the site and advertise it for others to join you.
Here's are other organizations that are standing with Charlottesville and more information how you can assist their efforts.
The NAACP: The NAACP protects the civil rights of racial minorities and openly condemned the events in Charlottesville. If want to support their efforts and the community in Charlottesville you can join their Charlottesville Branch or donate to their cause.
Charlottesville Pride: A local community organization that provides resources to the LGBTQ community in the area. Instigators of the weekend's violence were heard routinely chanting homophobic remarks.
Charlottesville Solidarity Legal Fund: The Charlottesville Solidarity Legal Fund is raising money to combat racism in Charlottesville, learn more about their mission and how they're supporting anti-racist movements.
Southern Poverty Law Center: An organization that tirelessly fights hate groups and domestic extremists. Respond to their call to action to defend the rights of racial minorities by funding their cause, volunteering or showing support.
And picking up a copy of Timothy Snyder's On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century helps give some historical context and will likely lead you to the conclusion that this most certainly is a wake-the-fuck up moment.