|Time for Confederate symbols to go|
|Tell federal, state and local government officials:
“Take down all symbols of the Confederacy. There is no room in America to celebrate white supremacy and racist terror.”
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Last weekend, Charlottesville, Virginia was the epicenter of white supremacist Nazi hate.
On Friday, white supremacist Nazi protesters marched through the streets of Charlottesville carrying torches and chanting “white lives matter” and “we will not be replaced.” Saturday, after a day of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ protest, a terrorist slammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist counter protesters, killing at least one person and injuring almost 20 others.
White supremacist Nazis chose Charlottesville because they are outraged that officials are planning to move statues honoring Confederate generals from city parks. Sustained organizing has helped bring down Confederate symbols in Charleston and New Orleans, but since Donald Trump’s election, white supremacists have been emboldened and ever more threatening.1 We cannot let Trump’s Nazi supporters slow down our fight to reclaim our public spaces from symbols of racist hate and terror. That why we are joining with our friends at Color Of Change to demand that all Confederate symbols come down now.
Confederate monuments and statues attempt to glorify and erase a stain on our nation’s history from which we have still not fully recovered. Many were erected soon after the Civil War with the goal of terrorizing newly freed African-Americans and reestablishing white supremacy in the South.2 Others were erected well after the war, some far from the South, to celebrate and normalize white supremacy and racial terror. And it is not just statues, plaques and monuments. Almost 200 schools, as well as buildings on many college campuses, are named after Confederate leaders.3 Some states still allow drivers to have the Confederate flag on their license plates.4
Since Dylann Roof massacred churchgoers at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina, activists have been organizing to remove symbols of the Confederacy across the nation. As anti-racist organizers have found success in cities like Charleston, New Orleans and Charlottesville, white supremacists have become more desperate. At the same time, they have been emboldened by Donald Trump’s racism and fascism to bring their hate into a much more public light.
Today’s white supremacists and neo-Nazis latch onto these symbols as a way to gin up their racist base. They rally around Confederate statues and use them as a pretext to commit terrorism and murder. We can no longer coddle white supremacists and Nazis or indulge their lies about our country’s racist heritage. It is past time that we stop the national veneration of people who committed treason in the name of slavery and a war that was fought to maintain white supremacy and the oppression of African-Americans.
The continued display of white supremacist symbols only serves to further signal that white supremacy is not only tolerated in America, but celebrated. We cannot allow white supremacist Nazi terrorists like those in Charlottesville to intimidate us and slow down efforts to confront and dismantle symbols of white supremacy. We know the racist, fascist bigot occupying the White House will not stand up to hate. We know the cowardly right-wing extremists in the Republican Party will not step up and confront the white supremacists in their base and the white supremacy at the heart of many of their party’s policies. So it is up to us.
Already, the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky has announced he will accelerate plans to remove Confederate statues in his city.5 We cannot remain silent and let the leaders of our communities, our states or the federal government passively normalize hate. We need to pressure officials now to take the same bold action.
Can you add your name today? Click the link below to join us and our friends at Color Of Change in calling for the removal of all Confederate symbols in America.
Thank you for everything you do,
Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager
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