In Solidarity with Charlottesville

Hatred and intolerance have no place in this Virginia town or anywhere else. We stand alongside those who stand for equality, justice, and civil rights for all.

A vigil took place in front of the White House on Sunday, August 13.

Washington Post/Getty

Our hearts are broken over the reckless and senseless violence this weekend in Charlottesville, and our prayers are with the family of Heather Heyer, who lost her life in the violence; the two Virginia state troopers who died in a related helicopter crash; and all the others struggling with injury, sacrifice, and loss.

We condemn the hatred and intolerance behind this violence, perpetuated in the name of a grotesque claim to special privilege based on race and rooted in a shameful legacy of bigotry and injustice. White supremacists and neo-Nazis who threaten and harm our fellow Americans are an affront to all we stand for and hold dear. They have no place in this Virginia town or anywhere else. We are better than that in this country and will grant no hearing to those who suggest otherwise.

We stand alongside those who seek equality, liberty, and justice; who embrace diversity; and who support civil rights for all people. It is the honest, concerted, and deliberate pursuit of those ideals that defines us as a nation.

What happened this weekend in Charlottesville was a rejection of those values and a threat to all they mean. We must rise, each of us, to confront this threat, just as we’ve done since our beginnings as a nation.

In our democracy, we each have a duty, we each have a role, in the pursuit of those ideals we hold dear. In the environmental movement, we stand up for the right to drink safe water, breathe clean air, and leave our children a livable world. We fight the racial and economic injustices that too often influence whose children get to breathe clean air and whose children do not. That’s why environmental rights are human rights.

Our democratic system also gives us tools to stand up for those rights, in the court of public opinion and in our courts of law. But it’s the quality of our democracy, how faithfully it serves the pursuit of American values and ideals, that determines whether our cause, and every cause, will ultimately sink or swim.

That’s why we must not allow the basic human rights of any of us to be trampled on or put at risk. If people bearing swastikas and tiki torches can threaten the rights of any of us, they can threaten the rights of all of us. If people target their fellow Americans because of the color of their skin or their religion, they target us all.

Let us add our voices to those expressing disgust and concern over this weekend’s events. There are solidarity rallies and vigils taking place across the country this week. We encourage you to join in common cause with your neighbors and loved ones in confronting these acts of hatred by taking action in your own community.

We also encourage you to contribute resources to those continuing to resist white supremacy, in Charlottesville and across the United States, here, here and here. Further, for resources on ways white Americans can confront white supremacy and racism, we encourage you to consider Showing Up for Racial Justice.

About the Authors

Rhea Suh

Former President

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