How to Help in the Wake of Charlottesville

Over the weekend, a horrific series of events unfolded in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacists were permitted to hold a march, despite the concerns of many community members.

Their “Unite the Right” event ultimately led to the deaths of three people. A paralegal named Heather Heyer died in a terrorist attack when a suspect, identified as James Alex Fields, drove a vehicle into a crowd. Meanwhile, Virginia State Police officers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates were killed in a helicopter crash when they responded to a call for aid.

In addition, numerous observers sustained injuries, including Deandre Harris, who was severely beaten right by the police station.

The United States’ racial problems have never gone away, but the words of the presidential administration have emboldened many white supremacists, Nazis and others, who have been out in force across the United States at similar events.

In May, the lives of Ricky Best and Taliesen Myrddin were claimed by another white supremacist who was harassing a young woman on the train in Portland. Another victim, Micah Fletcher, survived. Across the country, including in Charlottesville earlier this year, similar white nationalist rallies have ended in violence.

Many white Americans are waking up to what people of color in the United States are already well aware of. It’s not enough to condemn racism in the face of violence that’s tolerated by local law enforcement and encouraged by federal officials. It is time to act.

Care2 offers some concrete suggestions for how you can help Charlottesville in the aftermath of this terrible incident.

Volunteering

Not everyone can afford to donate money, and that’s okay. Your time is still appreciated — even if you can’t volunteer in Charlottesville.

  • Local anti-racist groups: Your community may have a Black Lives Matter chapter, along with other organizations fighting racism. They can likely use your help, whether you have specialized skills or not.
  • Demonstrations and vigils: Showing up isn’t just a way to get your voice heard. It also protects people who are exercising that same right who may be commonly targeted for violence by police officers and others. Use your body as a shield to protect people of color, disabled protesters, children and others at risk.
  • Educational organizations: Racism is a learned behavior, and it’s learned young. Get active with groups offering after-school activities and in-class enrichment. Read diverse books during story hour. Mentor youth of color on projects. Push schools to enact comprehensive anti-bullying policies that include racial issues.
  • Interfaith groups: Some clergy embrace anti-racism as part of their religious values. They can be found not just in the pulpit, but also at protests and other community events. Even if you’re not particularly religious, your support will be welcomed.
  • Bystander intervention: If you see something, take action with anti-racist bystander intervention to send a message that racism will not be tolerated in your community.

Person-to-Person

Sometimes, it’s personal: How often do you bite your tongue when a family member makes racist comments or a coworker speaks approvingly about white nationalists?

  • When someone makes a racist remark, stop the conversation. Explain that what they said was not acceptable, and why.
  • In a work setting, report these kinds of comments to a supervisor, and if you are a supervisor, work with your company to develop an intervention program. Employees should feel comfortable approaching you about these issues. If the only option is immediately bringing in human resources or lawyers, it tends to muzzle reporting about workplace problems.
  • Educate yourself: Take advantage of tools like the Charlottesville Syllabus to read up on racial issues and get informed. Challenge yourself to spend an hour a week, or 15 minutes a day — or whatever unit of time works for you — to keep reading this material, even if it feels uncomfortable.
  • Educate others: Don’t let the conversation stop with telling someone they said something racist. Encourage them to dig in with entry-level reading that may help them understand an issue, whether it’s police violence or the ongoing debate over removing Confederate monuments.

Local Charities

Numerous Charlottesville organizations are working to help their community recover. Learn more about their initiatives and needs here:

Don’t let white nationalists define America’s future, and don’t be afraid to find common cause on unexpected ground — whether it’s attending a march alongside a city council member of a different political party, or reaching out to a lawmaker you disagree with to ask for help removing Confederate monuments.

Take Action!

Sign this Care2 petition to demand that President Trump condemn the white supremacists who turned Charlottesville into a war zone this weekend, and call the car crash what it was – a terrorist attack.

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull

91 comments

Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thank you for posting

SEND
Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill9 months ago

What caused the violence was when a group on the other side decided to come at the same time. The Charlottesville police did not keep the 2 groups apart. Then when they clashed, it was too late. There were bad actors on both sides of this incident. It always takes 2 to make a fight!

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie Y9 months ago

Thanks

SEND