Official Statement Regarding the Violent Protests in Charlottesville
Hatred and evil are once again on full display on the American national stage. We grieve the loss of Heather Heyer, the peaceful protestor whose life was callously taken in the terrorist attack in Charlottesville this past weekend. Our thoughts are with those who were injured fighting to reject bigoted ideology, and with all of us watching who’ve been repeatedly traumatized by racial terror.
White supremacists, neo-nazis, and klansmen have yet to learn that they are standing on the wrong side of history. We applaud efforts by people of all races, religious backgrounds, political affiliations and sexual orientations to make this point even more apparent.
Every young person deserves to live in an environment that provides them an opportunity to learn and grow to their full potential. This doesn’t occur if hate is prevalent in the air—but it takes love, support, stability and capacity.
As a philanthropic organization, we know that philanthropy must be on guard against our field’s tendency to wax hollow in the face of difficult national issues. Procrastination or wavering in the face of white supremacy, however, is a reckless, irresponsible neglect of our duty. As the symbols of hate fall, we have an obligation to ensure that there remain monuments, pillars and support beams of hope and opportunity. As such, we call on our friends and allies in philanthropy and other grassroots movements to avoid shrinking from our obligation to address hate, invest in the resistance, make it personal, shine a spotlight on quiet sympathizers, and proselytize the nation toward our shared vision of a truly democratic homeland.
We must talk about what happened, but we must also align our talk with action to support partners on the front lines of this fight, as well as youth and families that’s impacted both directly and indirectly.
The wounds and suffering caused by Charlottesville will persist, sadly. We’re disturbed that what used to take place in the dark of night and veiled under white sheets now rides unmasked in the light of day proudly. But our shared valor in the face of evil will also persist, and teach our youth a valuable lesson.
In the words of Nelson Mandela and repeated by Former President Barack Obama this weekend “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Lela M. Blackwell
Founder & President
i Am My Sister