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Jul 14, 20

Burning Tiki Torches Placed in Yards of Anti-Racist Organizers in Charlottesville As ‘Unite the Right’ Anniversary Looms

The following statement comes from local anti-racist organizers in Charlottesville and was originally posted to Medium.

In the early hours of July 13, 2020, two Charlottesville community organizers found tiki torches ablaze in the yards of their homes. Another torch was discovered, unlit and discarded, in the vicinity of a third organizer’s house. It is clear that the unknown actors who executed this targeted attack intended to intimidate and silence antiracists. We, however, remain resolute in our commitment to protecting each other and boldly fighting white supremacy in all its forms, including the police, racist public policy, and Confederate monuments.

The symbolism and timing of this act were without a doubt intentional, hearkening back to key events from the Summer of 2017. Last Monday, July 8, 2020, marked the third anniversary of the KKK rally where activists were tear gassed and arrested by the Klan’s cousins in blue, the Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police. On August 11, 2017, the eve of the Unite the Right Rally (UTR), white supremacists marched, flaming tiki torches in hand, through the grounds of the University of Virginia, attacking counter protesters and shouting antisemitic, racist chants. Since then, in Charlottesville a burning tiki torch carries the traumatic weight of these repeated white supremacist attacks.

As we approach its third anniversary, we reject narratives that symbolically demarcate life ‘before’ or ‘after’ Unite The Right, as if the violence we experienced in the summer of 2017 was an aberration. These most recent fiery torches remind us all that our traumas are continuous. We will only end these traumas when we win liberation and a better world. We call upon all antiracist Charlottesville community members to join us in loving and caring for one another, through continued trauma and ongoing triggers, as we fight together to end all forms of white supremacy.

Anti-racist activists are currently fundraising for home security measures for folks affected by the recent increase in targeted police and white supremacist surveillance. If you can, please donate to these community members through this Congregate Cville donation link. Please earmark the donation for “activist security.”

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