Heather Heyer’s mother being comforted. NBC screenshot.
This weekend as Charlottesville community members prepared to mourn communal losses including Heather Heyer’s murder, reflect on the tragic events of last year’s deadly ‘Unite the Right’ White supremacist rally, and organize collectively against perennial systems of oppression, they faced the fifth largest deployment of law enforcement in Virginia history.
This included hundreds of police, officers in riot gear, and the National Guard with military equipment. In response to these events, Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Showing Up for Racial Justice Charlottesville, Congregate Charlottesville, and UVA Students United have issued the following statement:
“This weekend in Charlottesville, we were able to join together in grief, rage, and celebration of resistance. In spite of a massive police presence, we showed love for each other and took care of each other: with songs, snacks, marches, meals, small groups of mutual aid, smiles, tears, heartfelt embraces and with jail support for the three who needed it. Despite attempts by police to corral and intimidate us, we held space to listen to survivors of the physical and emotional trauma of last year’s White supremacist attack. We celebrated the collective resilience of our ongoing anti-racist community mobilization.”
“The over-policing of this weekend failed to rectify the damage of last year’s police stand down. That lapse resulted in injuries to dozens, the death of Heather Heyer, and irreparable harm to the moral fabric of our city. We have been clear about the necessary steps to begin to rectify that harm, which include: full accountability from the University of Virginia for enabling White supremacists to attack students and community members on August 11, 2017; the University of Virginia meeting the students’ demand to pay or forgive all remaining medical bills for survivors injured August 11-12, 2017; the Commonwealth Attorney not prosecuting Black community members for defending themselves against White supremacists who targeted them on August 12, 2017; the Charlottesville Police Department ending racist stop-and-frisk practices; and city planning that curtails the rising tide of gentrifying real estate development while building urgently needed public housing for very low income people. And Charlottesville must remove the racist Jim Crow monuments to the confederate antebellum slave regime.
Together, we have refused to let our community be used as a platform for a White supremacist genocidal agenda. Together, we will continue to challenge the white supremacy inherent to policing and other institutions. We fight White supremacy in all its forms. We fight against fascism and for racial justice, and we will win.”