With the anniversary of August 11 and 12 fast approaching, we citizens of Charlottesville are preparing ourselves for the worst. Even though the organizers of last year's white supremacist rally have been denied a permit to assemble here and claim to have relocated their protest to Washington DC, we suspect, no, we feel certain that they will infiltrate our community with their noxious hatred and violence. We're not the only ones anticipating trouble. The city has closed all of the streets downtown for the entire weekend. The University has sent employees home early. The Governor of Virginia has declared a "state of emergency," assigning an unprecedented number of police to patrol our streets.
How did we get here? No one has done a better job of analyzing the build up to "the summer of hate" and its aftermath than Nicole Hemmer of UVA's Miller Center. Her podcast A12, broadcast on the site Past Punditry and available free through Soundcloud, explores Charlottesville's racial history, the issue of Confederate statues, the mobilization of white supremacy by the alt-right, and related issues through the experiences of local citizens and faculty at UVA. The Kudzu Project is discussed in Episode 3.
This weekend, our thoughts are with the most vulnerable members of our community. There is abundant evidence that it is reasonable to fear not only those espousing hatred, but also those sent here to protect us. It is important that we stand up to evil, that we shine a light in the darkness and lead the way to a better future for our children. But in order to undertake the work ahead of us, we must survive this weekend. Please be safe!