By: The Towerlight editorial board
Saturday’s violent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, culminated in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters. The accused driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., is in police custody.
Nineteen others were injured in the crash that appears to be an act of domestic terrorism.
The images and videos are chilling and terrifying, and our editorial board stands with the brave counter-protesters who risked their lives to raise their voices against the weekend’s acts of hatred and racism.
In a statement, Trump blamed “many sides” for the weekend’s violence, and refused to explicitly condemn the white supremacy behind the rally.
We refuse to accept that statement.
When a group of white supremacists march on a town while screaming racist, homophobic and hateful epithets, it is not “many sides.”
When David Duke, a former KKK imperial wizard, says that what happened in Charlottesville “fulfills the promises of Donald Trump,” it is not “many sides.”
It is intimidation, it is racism, it is terrorism and it is hate, all directed toward our country’s most-marginalized.
The White House released a statement Sunday that defended Trump, saying that his statement “includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups.”
We want to hear that directly from Trump himself, because right now, his press office appears to be putting words in his mouth, words that Trump has not said out loud himself.
So, Trump, we implore you to call it what it is. This is white supremacy, and this is terrorism, and your refusal to acknowledge that yourself shows your own compliance. Your refusal to acknowledge it will only fuel the fire, allowing more events like this to happen in our country.
It is also important for people who occupy positions of privilege to recognize that they collectively benefit from the systems that work against marginalized communities, and to step up to actively reject bigotry, racism and hatred on a daily basis.
Here at The Towerlight, we acknowledge that it is our duty as a newsroom to use our own privileges to amplify marginalized voices and to act as a system of checks and balances on the University.
We stand with statements made by University community members, including those made by TU President Kim Schatzel and SGA President James Mileo, that condemn the events in Charlottesville and pledge support to the University community.
As a newsroom, we will continue to make our very best effort to attend events, rallies, meetings, speeches and anything else where your voices need to be heard. We also accept letters to the editor from the campus community that are published in print weekly.
We are working on a story right now that will tie together recent events with reactions from the University community. If you would like to contribute, please email email@example.com.