“We Keep Us Safe”: Video Report from Charlottesville

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Charlottesville activists took the streets the night of Saturday, October 7th in a march for Community Defense Against All Fascism, in response to another ten-minute terrorist photo-op torch rally by Richard Spencer and his fascist followers.

A report from Daily Kos from Solidarity Cville wrote:

But Charlottesville activists do not wait for police protection. Charlottesville is mobilizing. Community members headed downtown in rapid response to the Nazi torch rally. A group of clergy and other folks stood outside the synagogue, where an event was being held in observance of the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

Activists, students, and other community members gathered in Emancipation Park at 10pm. They marched through the downtown mall, up West Main Street, through the Corner, and to the house of UVA President Teresa Sullivan.

October 7 was the THIRD time Richard Spencer has brought torch-wielding Nazis to Charlottesville. His first torchlit rally was in Emancipation Park on Saturday, May 13. His second torchlit rally was on UVA campus on Friday, August 11, by the statue of racist rapist UVA founder Thomas Jefferson. That was the night a group of student activists with a banner reading “VA students act against white supremacy” stood at the statue to defend their campus and were beaten, burned, and maced by hundreds of Nazis. Allowing Nazi violence on UVA’s campus on August 11 sent the message that Nazi violence would be allowed the next day as well. And it was. The world watched in horror as Charlottesville was attacked.

On October 6, UVA student activists protested the Bicentennial celebration at the Rotunda in a powerful reminder that UVA is built on “200 years of White Supremacy.” When UVA students took the stage calling for accountability from their university, the police arrested them. When UVA alum Richard Spencer led another torchlit rally at Emancipation Park, the police gave them an escort.

The organic community protest Saturday night addressed all of these connections. The first chant of the community defense march was “Cops and Klan go hand in hand.” As the group walked through Charlottesville’s downtown mall, they chanted, “White silence is violence” and “Black lives matter.” Blocking traffic on West Main street, they continued: “No Cops, no KKK, no fascist USA”; “goodnight alt-right”; “who keeps us safe? we keep us safe!”; and “if we don’t get it, shut it down.”

Upon arriving at the home of UVA President Teresa Sullivan, the group called for revoking Richard Spencer’s UVA diploma. They also declared solidarity with the three students arrested the night before, protesting the UVA bicentennial.

Three police officers stood on the steps of the house facing the protestors. Chanting continued.

“We fight in solidarity with activists and community members who have been holding it down in Charlottesville all summer,” one speaker declared. “We celebrate the legacy of resistance in Charlottesville and throughout the South. We fight for Sage Smith. Say her name: Sage Smith. Black Trans Lives Matter.”

The group pushed forward onto the steps of Teresa Sullivan’s house. One person pointed out that femmes and women and trans people led the front lines. White men were called on to step up, to come forward. The group chanted and clapped and affirmed, “When you let the Nazis come, we come! We confront Nazis. We defend this community.”

Dozens of police units arrived from four different law enforcement agencies. The police declared an unlawful assembly and threatened arrest.

The last moments of the protest were community care in action. As folks turned to walk away, reminders were called out. First: “If you’re white, protect the black and brown bodies.” Also: “Make sure everyone is accounted for,” and “Leave with a buddy.” Individuals gathered on the sidewalk to make sure everyone had what they needed and could get home.

Charlottesville is mobilizing. We are defending our community from Nazi terror. We are taking care of each other to persist through threats from fascists and threats from the police. We will disrupt white supremacy, end racial oppression, and make reparations. We will because we must. Join us.


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Solidarity Cville

A multiracial network acting in solidarity with communities of color to fight all forms of white supremacy. Acting out of fierce love to #DefendCville.