Charlottesville activists, University of Virginia students, and other community members rebuke the “Concert for Charlottesville” as a show of false unity. Activists released a video calling on Charlottesville to enact racial justice and show solidarity with communities of color. Flyers and signs outside the concert reiterate the messages of the video and declare “No Unity without Justice.” These are the latest in a series of actions since July 8 through which community members have presented demands for racial justice.
The video released today declares, “Community healing shouldn’t be led by those who failed the community – Mayor Mike Signer, the City Council, Chief Al Thomas, UVA President Teresa Sullivan, and many others.” A multiracial coalition of community members has been leading and mobilizing Charlottesville: it was community members who modeled strategies for confronting, disrupting, and counter-protesting racist terrorists throughout the past year; it was students who defended the UVA campus from torch-bearing white supremacists on August 11; it was anti-fascists downtown on August 12 who protected people from physical violence as the police stood aside.
Charlottesville is mobilizing, and communities across the country are mobilizing with us. Community members are confronting overt white supremacy as well as the white supremacy that exists in more insidious forms every day. This means also confronting the legacy of Charlottesville’s own founding rapist slaveholder Thomas Jefferson, who popularized white supremacist ideology in America. Activists affiliated with Solidarity Cville make the following statements:
- “We confront the legacy of colonization and the confederacy, of slavery, segregation and oppression. We confront the racist policies and practices that shape our homes, our health, and our families. We commit to change.” – Sam Peacoe
“We honor the Southern heritage of resistance to racist oppression. We remember that this land belongs to the Monacan nation. We remember the 52% of Charlottesville residents who were enslaved when Union troops marched in during the Civil War, and we fight for the reparations that have yet to be made in their name.” – Marc Mazique
“White people, including white liberals, moderates, and other fence-sitters must admit and reconcile our complicity in this racist terror. We need to engage in deep, authentic community healing and reconciliation. We must be honest with ourselves and with each other. We must commit to the transformation of our city from one that centers a legacy of white supremacy to one that centers a legacy of resistance.” – Sara Brickman
“Even if our city officials cannot personally execute each specific Solidarity Cville demand, they can and must provide explicit public support. If you claim to be a leader, take responsibility for what happens in this city. Name the imperative to end racial oppression and make reparations. Then, take risks to make it happen.” – Mimi Arbeit
“Mayor Signer and City Council must acknowledge that you were warned about the violence coming on August 11-12. Acknowledge that you heard us and that you didn’t know what to do and that you didn’t do enough. Apologize. Tell us that you now understand. Hear us. You can never make it right – we can never make it not have happened – but we can make this moment change our lives and change our city. Don’t tell us what other people can do or could have done. Tell us what YOU can do and will do, immediately.” – Emily Gorcenski
We demand solidarity with activists and communities of color. We demand unity around racial justice in Charlottesville.
Drop all charges against Veronica Fitzhugh.
Drop all charges against the 22 people arrested protesting the KKK on July 8, the 5 people arrested resisting white supremacists on August 12, and the 3 people dragged out of the August 21 city council meeting as the community took over.
Initiate immediate development of affordable housing for extremely low income people, and fulfill the “Positive Vision of Resident Directed Redevelopment” from the Charlottesville Public Housing Association of Residents.
Apologize publicly for police negligence to the families of Sage Smith, Faye Tinsley, and Quinn Woodfolk, and commit to an expansion of the investigations of Faye’s murder and Sage’s disappearance.
Cease the targeting of Black families by social services to send children into foster care.
End militarized police units like JADE (Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement) and its successors.
End money bail, and release people being held without bond before their trial.
Mike Signer must resign, because there is blood on your hands.
We support the call to action from Charlottesville High School student activists of color:
To build a city where people feel safe;
To not just change policy but also shift culture;
To support youth in addressing white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism;
To build a space for people to feel safe in addressing systems that are here to kill us all.
Hateful groups tried to use our home, Charlottesville, to further their racist/ sexist/ homophobic/ Islamophobic/ anti-Semitic agenda. Now, as a community, we need to reckon with what that means. We will take the momentum built – in this moment of mobilization, this strength of solidarity, this righteous outrage – to end racial oppression and make reparations, in Charlottesville and across America.
Join us. Hope resides in action.