“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”
We write this week’s action with a heavy heart. Our guest writer for the week is 500 WS leader Rukmani Vijayaraghavan who lives in Charlottesville, VA and works at the University of Virginia. Here is a message from Rukmani:
"I woke up on the morning of Saturday August 12, angry about the white supremacists scheduled to invade my city. The evening before, they’d marched on the University I work at. I went to bed sleepless that night, heartbroken by the tragedy of a terrorist attack on the street corner half a block from my apartment -- the corner I drive through every single day and have crossed on foot a hundred times. This has not been an easy weekend nor will the coming days and weeks. But the support we have received from across the country and around the world has been overwhelming -- keep it coming, and keep fighting for what is right and just."
Heather Heyer was a 32 year old woman who did what was morally right, who stood up against white supremacy, bigotry, and hatred. And she died for it. Two state troopers tragically died while simply doing their jobs -- trying to keep the people safe. Let us honor their memory and legacy.
We’re all angry, confused, and outraged. We should be. Here is what we can do this week. As many have said, if this not who we are as a country, then let’s prove it.
The first step in action is to educate ourselves and the people closest to us about what happened leading up to the incidents over the weekend:
The petition to remove the statue was started by a high school student, Zyahna Bryant; let her be our inspiration.
Charlottesville is a city where a veneer of gentility and progressivism often covers over decades of slavery and segregation. The University of Virginia where the marches began on Friday, was founded by Thomas Jefferson, and is also in the process of confronting its own history of slavery and segregation. More background reading here: Why this happened in Charlottesville
There are no easy solutions or actions, but there are many in Charlottesville doing the work of confronting and dealing with the legacy of racism and segregation and would greatly benefit from your support,
Here are local groups and chapters you can support: Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Charlottesville NOW, Charlottesville Pride, the Charlottesville-Albemarle NAACP, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, and more here.
Still feel like this is not enough? We are scientists, and we are far from perfect. So be creative and push yourself and your community to find more ways to stand up against hatred and bigotry in your community