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Charlottesville: Time for righteous resistance

Friends,

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. I have fond memories of high school dances, dogwood festivals, and holidays filled with love and surrounded by family and friends. Charlottesville isn’t just my home; my mother is 79 and she’s lived there her entire life. It’s a simple college town, rich in history, and conveniently located close to Richmond and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is my hometown.

On Friday, the community I love was invaded by domestic terrorists. The Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and other ultra-nationalist groups descended on the streets of Charlottesville. They screamed racial and anti-semitic hate speech as they walked through the University of Virginia campus, carrying torches and semi-automatic weapons. Their dubiously titled “Unite the Right” rally was the largest in recent history. They wore no masks, and displayed no inhibition as they taunted and terrorized my city, going as far as to warn that they would return.

I’ve never been more frightened in my life. For the first time, I felt vulnerable in a place that has always felt welcoming and safe. While my community was tormented this time, yours may be next.

If you saw the throngs of angry white men and women descend on Charlottesville, it should trouble you that many of these unmasked men called themselves patriots. Some even claim to be people of faith—they will likely be in someone's church singing worship songs, planning a church conference, or worse, policing our neighborhoods or teaching our children. But we know that true faith is to comfort the sick and the afflicted and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

As people with a moral compass, we also know that “faith” isn’t faith unless it’s put in action. If there was ever a time to put our faith into action, that time is now. If you didn’t like what happened in Charlottesville, you have no other choice than to wage a righteous resistance. You cannot be on the sidelines. You must oppose the targeting of our Black, Jewish, Latino, Immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ and poor siblings.

The men who stormed Charlottesville were crystal clear about their purpose, and we must be equally clear about our own. There are many things we can do to resist the spread of hatred including preaching, praying and acting against white supremacy. You could also contact your local police department and government officials to ask them what they’re doing to keep all people safe. Finally, if you’re a clergy leader looking for other ways to plug in, consider participating in our LIVE FREE campaign’s “Weeks of Righteous Resistance” effort by visiting www.righteousresistance.org

It is painfully obvious that our country is under assault. The assault isn’t carried out by persons we do not know; it’s from homegrown, domestic terrorists that have been permitted to run rabidly through our cities and streets. It’s time to stand up and speak out. We cannot wait for the next Ku Klux Klan or white nationalist mob to attack someone else’s hometown.

Use this toolkit to stand against white supremacy.

http://thisisworr.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/How-to-prepare-for-white-supremacist-events.pdf

In Power and Love,

Felicia

Felicia Yoda, 
Information Systems Manager  
PICO National Network