This weekend, Charlottesville, Virginia erupted in white supremacists protesting over the proposed removal of a controversial statue of Robert E. Lee, a general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The protest was planned months ago when the removal plans were announced, and the city braced itself for the “Unite the Right” protests from white supremacists. On Friday, hundreds of white nationalists marched and chanted racial slurs. The crowds were met with counter-protests, and the situation quickly turned violent. The Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, has declared this a state of emergency, and in a statement told the white supremacists and neo-Nazis to go home; however, after the alt-right protesters had cleared, James Alex Fields Jr. drove a car through the counter-protest, killing Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 more.
The events in Charlottesville have brought a very hateful group of people into the spotlight. These deeply upsetting events have inspired many to help in any way they can. If you want to help, here is a list of 8 things you can do, even if you aren’t near Charlottesville.
1. Help With The Medical Bills: James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car through a crowd of protesters, killing one person and injuring at least 19 more. As their medical bills pile up, you can help them by donating here.
2. Support Groups in Charlottesville: Show your support for the local chapters of organizations like Black Lives Matter, the National Organization for Women, Charlottesville Pride, the Black Student Alliance of UVA, and the NAACP through volunteering or donating.
3. Legal Aid: The Charlottesville Solidarity Legal Fund is collecting money to help anti-racism activists who need legal representation and are asking for funding to allow them to do as much as possible.
4. Attend Events: There are protests and vigils across the country in response to the events in Charlottesville, and if you don’t have the money to donate, this is another way to show your support. Indivisible helps people search for events in their area.
5. Call Your Representatives: President Trump did very little to call out the neo-Nazis and white nationalists in his initial statement. If your representatives haven’t said anything yet, you can take the time to call them. Our representatives should be condemning the violence in Charlottesville, and if they haven't done so already, then give them a call.
6. If you’re in Charlottesville: Reveal News is documenting the surge of hate crimes and white nationalism since Trump became president. If you’re in Charlottesville or other places where there are protests, you can help by sending them helpful information.
7. Support Local and Minority-Owned Businesses: A lot of businesses in Charlottesville have closed their stores during the protests in solidarity with the counter-protests. This has led them to lose money, and an organization called Charlottesville 29 has released a plea to buy gift certificates from these restaurants to help them bring in revenue now while being able to enjoy their services when they reopen.
8. Sign This Petition to remove all Confederate symbols in the United States.
Photo Credit: GoFundMe
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