NAME Statement on
Charlottesville Protests and Violence

The consequences of racism, white supremacy and searing hate always lead to tragic results, and the “Unite the Right” gathering on Aug. 11-12 in Charlottesville, Va., to oppose the city’s removal of a Robert E. Lee statue is just the latest example.

The National Association for Multicultural Education decries the violence invoked by a hate group in Charlottesville. But let us be clear that this group was made up of college students and community leaders from across the U.S.; leaders who are committed to white supremacy, violence, and systemic oppression. Their actions resulted in the senseless injury of more than 30 people and the murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, a Charlottesville paralegal, who was in the crowd of counter-protesters when intentionally struck by a car driven by a 20-year-old white supremacist. While the driver faces second-degree murder and other charges in the attack, our nation’s laws continue to be inadequate when tasked with overthrowing systemic oppression supported by such racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic​, public attacks.

NAME knows that such hate-inspired events are preventable through social justice, equity and multicultural education in pre-K through college. Americans must know the complete history of the nation, including that which is embedded in Confederate statues like the one in Charlottesville. Such knowledge, combined with intentional efforts to disrupt oppressive policies and practices in health, education, housing, economics, and policing, would help to dissolve the hate and point the country toward an intellectual and social valuing of our expanding diversity.

It is past time to seek input from elected officials whose ignorance and fostering of global instability and hate have helped to create the conditions for the public rise in white supremacy. Indeed, NAME argues that the solutions to our global problems must come from the people, from everyday educators, social workers, health care workers, activists, advocates, and social justice community members. We must model the unapologetically non-violent leadership our social justice efforts need. As we lift our fists in the air, we partner with unions, teachers, school leaders, educators across the range of school and college types; we partner with custodians and maintenance workers; we partner with food service workers, farmworkers, and service industry personnel; we partner, in short, with all those who are invested in a more inclusive, more humane, more tolerant, and more loving society. The time is now. Let us be the systemic change we need.

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