September 21, 2020

White supremacy comes to a head at Charlottesville

By Heidi Cho
Nation & World Editor

A U.N. panel called upon the United States to identify and address the root of racism that fueled the tragic series of protests in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 23, according to The New York Times.

Earlier this year, the Charlottesville City Council decided to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, according to the Washington Post.

The decision inspired hundreds of protesters to congregate at the University of Virginia, according to The New York Times.

The Washington Post reported that protesters gathered with torches on Aug. 11 at the University of Virginia to protest the removal of the statue.

This group faced off against 30 University of Virginia students linking hands around the statue in a counter-protest. Shoving, pushing and torch throwing at both the students and statue ensued, according to The Washington Post.

White supremacist protestors shield entrance to Lee Park. (AP Photo)

The protests only escalated on Aug. 12 when militias showed up with long rifles, and supporters of the Ku Klux Klan brought clubs and shields directly to the counter protesters, who yielded sticks and chemicals, according to The Washington Post.

Authorities allege that James Alex Fields Jr. drove a car into a crowd protesting white supremacy, killing one of the counter-protesters. 19 others were injured in the attack, according to CBS.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, died from the attack. Over 1,000 individuals showed up to Hayes’s memorial service sporting purple, Heyer’s favorite color, according to The Washington Post.

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” read Heyer’s last public post on Facebook, according to Business Insider.

Fields was charged with second degree murder, according to CBS.

Two of the injured are also suing Fields as the suspected van driver, as well as asking for $3 million in compensation costs, according to CNN.

By the end of the day on Aug. 12, 34 people were injured and two state troopers were killed in a helicopter crash while monitoring the protests without clear reasons, according to The New York Times.

Governor Terry McAullife had declared a state of emergency late Saturday morning, according to The New York Times. Police arrested only eight protesters.

Civilians have attempted to identify white supremacists in photos of the protests through social media, and caused real life consequences by shaming them out of their jobs or homes. While some people were correctly identified, others suffered the consequences of false identification, according to The New York Times.

President Donald Trump’s response to the events at Charlottesville was rebuked by several community leaders, leaders of other countries and now the U.N., according to The New York Times.

The future of the statue is yet to be decided, but for now the Robert E. Lee statue is shrouded, as decided by vote of the Charlottesville City Council, according to Fox News.

The “Unite the Right” event on Aug. 12 was the largest congregation of white nationalists in the past decade, according to Fox News.

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