Archives for category: protest

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This past Saturday the KKK came to my town of Charlottesville. They were protesting the removal of two confederate statues, one of Robert E. Lee, and one of Stonewall Jackson.

There were several counter protests organized, as well as events celebrating love, equality and acceptance throughout the city. My youngest daughter and I attended the counter protest by the Stonewall Jackson statue.

When we arrived there was a man with a large sign on a microphone screaming that gays were going to hell. There was a man in a green diaper dancing in front of him. People were dancing and playing drums. It was kind of amusing at first…a sort of circus atmosphere.

And then the troublemakers showed up.

20170708_140158I pointed them out to my daughter…two men who have been at every rally of every kind in town carrying signs, and I told her that things were going to get all sorts of nasty now. Within minutes people were screaming at him, and I came very close to having my phone broken.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.11.04 PMWatch the video here

Things escalated after that. Before long I noticed a crowd that had surrounded a woman and her husband, both wearing bars & stars hats. They were being screamed at by no less than 20 people, because they were not in favor of removing the statues.

My daughter and I stood amongst the crowd, watching the woman attempt to defend herself, while a fat woman in a tutu and a push up bra screamed in her ear non-stop. The couple were being protected by police officers, and this enraged another young woman, who began calling them “killer cops” and yelling the names of African Americans who had, in essence, been murdered by police officers.

But this wasn’t why we were here. We were here to denounce the KKK, right? Her rants, while valid, seemed out of place. The police were simply trying to protect a couple from Maryland who did not share the opinion of the majority of protesters.

As the protest continued, I saw some of Charlottesville’s best…folks who were handing out free water, fruit and sandwiches to fellow protesters. It was hot and sunny that day, and if you ran out of water, you were craving some quickly. One man walked around saying “The KKK is hydrated today…are you?”

Other people were gathered in song, or parading through the small park and surrounding sidewalks carrying signs and chanting peacefully.

But I have to tell you, I saw more of Charlottesville’s worst that day. At one point my daughter and I witnessed the same man and woman, now joined by a younger couple, who were obviously statue supporters. They were surrounded by police, but there was a crowd of at least 50 people screaming at them.

20170708_152438Watch the video here

I said to my daughter, “I feel really sorry for those poor people.” It was then that a woman began to argue with me, and my use of the word “poor.” According to her, they were getting what was coming to them, and were not “poor.” I didn’t understand her at first, maybe because her argument sucked.

I turned to her and explained that just because they had a different opinion, it did not give that angry mob the right to treat them that way. We were here to protest the KLAN…were they klan or just some passionate southerners who don’t think it’s right to take down statues of Confederate Generals? In the end, they are human beings and deserved to be treated with more respect than they were being shown.

I also told her that Charlottesville was showing its ugly side and that I was ashamed. She didn’t like that one bit and skulked away.

Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I think people should be treated fairly…I hate to see anyone surrounded by a mob – I’d have handed them a water, but my daughter, fearful that the crowd would turn on us, begged my not to.

The Klan showed up and we booed and chanted, but in the end, they kind of won. They had complete protection, cordoned off by barricades and a wall of police, and seeing the angry crowd in a complete frenzy probably gave them huge erections…even the women.

The whole day left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m glad I went because it was a very interesting experience, but I’ll tell you…there are some nasty, angry people in this town.

Vacay

Charlottesville, VA, the town that I live right outside of and work in, has become somewhat of a racial hot bed in the past few months. You see, we have a few confederate statues in town, and like they did in New Orleans, Charlottesville is having them removed.

Not only are they removing the statues, but they have renamed both parks, which were named after confederate generals. However, the new names they picked really suck. I doubt they’ll stick.

In any case, we had one white supremacist rally last month led by white nationalist Richard Spencer. They showed up burning tiki torches – it was a pretty fucked up thing to happen in our little artsy fartsy fairly liberal college town. The photo below was taken one block from my office…from where I sit now writing this…and it’s a pretty daunting sight. However, because they were burning tiki torches, one spectator said, “the air was heavy with both hatred and citronella.”

http---o.aolcdn.com-hss-storage-midas-81e85007b128e965a97fb7cb321d4def-205265721-Screen+Shot+2017-05-14+at+10.21.14+AM.pngThe following night,  hundreds of Charlottesvillians took back the park in a peaceful candlelit protest. It made me super proud of our community. We don’t take kindly to this hate stuff.  Had I known the counter rally was going on, my girls and I would have been there with candles ablaze.

C_1HJnOXoAE3uMv.jpg-largeSo it turns out the KKK wants to jump on the bandwagon. They have a protest scheduled in the same park on July 8th. My paper, C-VILLE Weekly is running an article on it this week. You know, I sit a few desks in front of the reporter who did the research for the article. It was very interesting to listen to her interview actual KKK members via telephone. It sure beat what was on the radio.

To quote the article (which doesn’t come out until tomorrow or I’d post a link), the reason the KKK is coming to Charlottesville? “We think it’s a shame they’re erasing our Confederate history, our white history,” says Jones. “It’s a spit in our face to take down our monument.”

There are several counter protests scheduled at the same time, and I was bummed I couldn’t be a part of it. See, that very day we were to spend the day in New York City on our way back from Martha’s Vineyard. But it turns out one of the counter protests is happening at the outdoor pavilion my husband works at, so we decided NYC can wait…we want to be a part of what could be historic happenings in our hometown. We want to be among those who stand up and say, “This is not what Charlottesville stands for.”

It’s sure to get National coverage….how often does the KKK raise its ugly head and come out from under the rock to stand up for its twisted beliefs? But I will be careful – my whole family will. To further quote the article…

 “Some members will be wearing robes,” he says, noting that it’s illegal in most states to wear the face-covering hoods. Others will wear black military garb. And many will be packing heat, he says.

And sadly, this protest on July 8th won’t be the end of white supremacist assholes flooding our fair city. There is another rally scheduled for August. Richard Spencer and his Alt-Right cronies are slithering into town with what will likely be hundreds of people to further rally against the removal of these statues.

Uff da…the bars and stars will be all over the place. That alone will make me crazy. But seeing actual robes? Not sure how that is going to make me feel at all.

Stay tuned.