Racism creates division in Charlottesville

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Alt-right members preparing to enter Emancipation Park holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. Photo courtesy of Anthony Crider, Wikimedia Commons

By Luis De La Torre

On Friday August 11, white supremacists marched the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia in large numbers, with torches lit. Following this march, a car driven by an alt-right supporter barreled down the street taking down peaceful protesters unified against racism, killing 23-year-old Heather Heyer.

The gathering is part of the “Unite the Right” rally which was meant to bring together right wing extremist groups.

The most recent gathering took place at the University of Virginia when neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and alt-right supporters flooded the area chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” and other hate-filled slogans.  The following few days they continued to flood the streets of Charlottesville with violent demonstrations. Some came armed.

Twenty-year-old Deandre Harris worked in Charlottesville as a special needs assistant at a local high school. He ended up severely beaten by a gang of  alt-right supporters. “The beating happened right beside the Police Department, and no police were there to help me at all,” Harris said in a recent interview with The Root.

Video also surfaced of an alt-right supporter firing a gun at an African American woman. While there were many people beaten, only eight white supremacists were arrested, according to the NY Post.   

It was not until about noon on Saturday when law enforcement declared the gathering unlawful. Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia ordered the  National Guard to be on standby as well.

According to CNN, Governor McAuliffe told the white supremacists, “Go home, you are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.¨

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s response was non-committal and aroused anger as he was not seen to censure the white supremacists. According to CNN, Trump said, ¨You had a group on the other side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was very violent.”

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, several anti-hate protests and marches were held.

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