The events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia this month have not only sparked debates around the nation, but have reminded us how far America still must go when it comes to injustice and hate of people because of their skin color. Hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis descended upon the University of Virginia to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. The hate rallies that took place resulted in over a dozen injuries, and the death of Heather Heyer. Heyer, a 32-year old legal assistant, who has earned the title of a hero was killed when car plowed into a crowd of those fighting against hate.
The images and videos captured of the events in Charlottesville looked as if it came straight from history textbooks that were used in grade school to teach us about the hate that America was originally built on hundreds of years ago. However, it should not be forgotten that this same hate still exists, here in the year 2017.
Many white nationalists operate under the belief that they are losing their identity as a race, and must once again become “superior” amongst all other races in this land. They fear that America is becoming too diverse, resulting in a loss of power for them.
Today, there are quite a few Americans who believe that racism is a thing of the past; yet in this current era the hatred for people due to the color of their skin is just as prevalent as it was when our grandmothers and their mothers, and those who came before them were alive. We are living under the leadership of a president who refuses to acknowledge hate groups like the Klu Klux Klan and Alt-Right for the hate groups and American terrorists that they are.
So one may pose the question, “where do we go from here,” after the events in Virginia. Much of the displays of hate came as a surprise to some people, but to others like myself this is something that is all too familiar in a nation that’s been coined as the “land of opportunity and equality for all.” Where must we start as a nation to eliminate the hate built by our founding fathers? The removal of Confederate statues is supposed to be a start because many of the statues honor those who did not believe that justice and equality was meant for those who weren’t white. How can we move forward if the shadows of the past continually haunt us in places like Virginia, that is the birthplace of the Confederacy, and have groups that are working effortlessly to remind us that America was not originally created to be a place where all races, nationalities and ethnic backgrounds were welcomed and embraced.
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” was the last post from Heather Heyer’s Facebook page. Her words can teach the world a thing or two when it comes to combating hate. We must resist and although we are fighting against the evils of racism and hatred towards mankind, we must not give up. We must recall the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
By: Shanique Yates
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