Charlottesville and the “Many Sides” of Donald Trump: What Can We Do?

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In many ways the hatred and violence we saw this weekend in Charlottesville is nothing new. White supremacists and neo-Nazis chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and targeting people with direct violence is an ugly part of our history.

What is new, in the post-Civil Rights era, is the official reaction to these events from the White House. President Trump’s statement that “many sides” were to blame gave a moral equivalency to “both sides.” There is no moral equivalency between white supremacists and those who oppose their hatred. White supremacists seek legal white domination over people of color, Jews and support an end to equal rights for the LGBT community.

Trump’s statements are shameful and worrying.

He gave a clear signal to the white supremacists that he has no problem with them. In fact, David Duke thanked Trump for his comments. President Trump has emboldened the white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

We send our love to the family and friends of those killed and injured. We condemn the violence and hatred that the white supremacists and neo-Nazis stand for and Trump’s wink and a nod to these forces of hate.

What can we do?

We can support rallies and vigils protesting the ugly resurgence of this hatred.

Here are some actions:

  • Bay Resistance, a coalition of which AFT 2121 is a founding member, has an action today Wednesday August 16th 5-7 pm at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department to say no to white supremacy and racism, no to deportations, and yes to sanctuary: bit.ly/noracist
  • There is a planned neo-Nazi and white supremacists rally Saturday August 26th in San Francisco. Stay tuned for more details to join labor and community counterprotests.
  • Can’t make these events? We urge you to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville by taking part in a peaceful event near you in the coming days and weeks.

What can we do as educators?

As educators we can teach! Silence is not an option. Educators are committed to the idea that understanding our history is a liberating act. Understanding, both morally and intellectually, is a cornerstone of human development.

So find ways to engage students with these issues. Here are some resources for educators at #CharlottesvilleCurriculum:

You can also review this excellent curriculum and supports resource page compiled by ShareMyLesson and the AFT to help you.

This hatred has existed for a very long time. It is not new. And the struggle against it has long history as well. Let us join in that struggle for a world of love, enlightenment and liberation.

Forward Ever
Backwards Never

Tim Killikelly
AFT 2121 President

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