First of all, our prayers go out to those that were injured today in Charlottesville, Virginia and to the family of the person killed there.
The cowardly act in Charlottesville that left one person dead and 19 injured is reprehensible and indicative of the worst in our society. White supremacist organizers of the planned noontime rally were the backdrop and the foundation for what happened there today.
While they claim concern for the removal of a confederate statue was the impetus for their rally, the right wing has a long history of divisive and racist acts that would attempt to take our nation in an apartheid-like direction. Catch phrases reported by local Charlottesville media from the Ku Klux Klan’s David Duke as ‘the first step toward taking America back’ are pretty clear statements about removing 20th century gains made by people of color, gays, women and others in our nation.
The divisive rhetoric and policies of our current President and unreported experiences of many people of color, victimized by racist acts since the election, help give these thugs a sense that they can now openly organize and attack progressive forces.
Those of us that see the importance of unifying our nation, so that we will continue to be a beacon of hope and a light of liberty for the world, know that we have to speak out when we see injustice like this occurring. However, it is not enough to just raise our voices, we must continue to organize and show by example we embrace the idea of the ‘beloved community’ that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described, lead the movement to try and realize and for which he ultimately gave his life.
We know that the purveyors of white supremacy will not stop because one event was cancelled and we hear they have pledged to continue their struggle.
Brothers and Sisters in organized labor have long been in the fight against those that would try to roll back the clock in America, to a time when labor was exploited and rights were nonexistent.
We believe in a phase popularized in a song during the civil right movement, “we shall not be moved.”
And so our struggle for jobs, peace and freedom continues and we believe that love and unity are the keys to our success as a nation. We stand with those that stand for these values and pray that more will come to see this light.