Women. Power. Peace.

Charlottesville Response: For the White People in My Life… by Becky Rafter

Becky Rafter, Executive Director

At the end of this post are several actions you can take in the wake of Charlottesville, including Georgia Resists: Take Down White Supremacy.

This post is for the White people in my life. In order to extricate racist, inhumane practices from the fabric of U.S. culture, White people must recognize that we are not children of a distant brutal past. No, we are practicing adults of racism pretty much every day, in some way or another.

Race-supremacy groups, and their terrible actions in Charlottesville and around the country, are part of a larger problem. Their actions and hate are just one expression along a White supremacist continuum that all White people occupy and perpetuate.

To break the generations-long and continent-wide terror of White supremacy, White people must actively work against racism in its many forms. Condemning what happened in Charlottesville necessarily includes a stand against the ravages of systemic oppression. We must also recognize our own roles in perpetuating racism. Because we benefit from it.

Racism is as big a threat to humanity as nuclear war and climate change. Racist regimes perpetrate violence worldwide. And make policies that harm people and the planet.

The U.S. is at a crossroads. We must effectively stand together to advance peace, justice, and liberation. Culturally dominating practices and systems operate to keep White supremacy alive. That means holding hate groups, President Trump, local elected officials, police, industry execs, and others with power accountable. But in order to do that effectively, we must first hold ourselves accountable. And our organizations, agencies, and offices. Our congregations.

Heather Heyer wasn't a seasoned activist. She wasn't affiliated with an organization or holding down the frontline. Yet she stepped out into the streets of Charlottesville, VA, on August 12, 2017, and made her voice heard against hatred. Perhaps because she wanted to make a difference by taking action. To be a part of history. Maybe she heard a whisper in the wind.

But in an instant, when a White supremacist drove his car into a crowd of protesters, injuring 19 people and killing her, Heather quickly learned what White people are largely shielded from in our privilege: racism is violent, pervasive, and will eventually kill us. We must end White supremacy before another generation has to undergo its corrosion.

Georgia WAND stands in solidarity with Heather Heyer's family, the activists who were injured, the first-responders, and all people affected by violence, anti-Black Racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia in Charlottesville, VA and across the country.

What You Can Do:
1. Georgia Resists: Take Down White Supremacy, Saturday 8/19: 6 PM - 8 PM, from Centennial Olympic Park, 265 Park Avenue West NW, Atlanta, GA to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Send a message to Georgia, and to America, that hate has no home here.

2. Prison Solidarity March, Saturday 8/19: 3 PM to 6PM, Woodruff Park, 91 Peachtree St SW, Atlanta, GA. is a national day of action organized by incarcerated and ex-incarcerated people against the prison-industrial complex and the use of slave labor in prisons. Hosted by A World Without Police's campaign to #shutdownACDC.

3. Take the 8 actions to end white supremacy, put forth by Black Lives Matter, Charlottesville. Click here for more information. (H/T Black Alliance for Just Immigration)

4. Take time to read and watch media to help learn how to be a better White ally and how structural racism works. Thank you Jen Willsea from the Interactive Institute for Social Change for compiling such a resourceful list, called Intro to Racism for White People - a List of Resources for Learning.

5. Donate to the Black August Bail Out Fund - Bailing out Black women and queer and trans Black folks from jails in 7 sites across region to advance our demand to end case bail aka debtors prisons.

6. Join Georgia WAND to see how you can lend your support for creating just, peaceful communities in Georgia and beyond

7. Love yourself, trust in yourself, show up, love others

Thank you to Lindsay Harper, Dianne Valentin, Jen Willsea, and members of Partnership for Southern Equity's Just Energy Circle, especially Nathaniel Smith, Berneta Haynes, and Amelia Shenstone for inspiration, ideas, and solidarity.

For more information, contact becky@georgiawand.org or go to www.gawand.org.

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