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News & Press: Featured

CPED Statement on White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

Wednesday, August 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
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CPED Statement on White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia 


This past Friday evening, galvanized by efforts to remove Confederate monuments, a group of approximately 250 White Supremacists marched with torches onto the University of Virginia campus, chanting slogans affiliated with the Nazis (e.g., “Blood and soil”). The next day, a planned rally by the same group turned violent as clashes broke out between White Supremacists and counter-protesters. As the culmination of two days of hate, a man affiliated with the White Supremacist group drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 more.  


CPED strongly condemns these horrific acts of the overt White Supremacist Neo-Nazi movement. 


We believe the blame for the hate, rage and violence does not lie on “many sides.” 

Rather, we must acknowledge our nation’s long history of culturally and socially sanctioned racism and we must push back against movements such as these that, in the past few years, have gained overt political legitimacy. Let us be reminded of the powerful words of South African anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu -- “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  


As educators, we have an obligation to help the teachers and educational leaders we prepare to understand this history and empower them with ways to change it. We must teach them not only ways to eradicate the forms of easily recognizable hatred and bigotry, but also the ways our systems/institutions implicitly and explicitly perpetuate racism (and other isms). Together, we must commit to actively working to dismantle these systems through our collaborative work as educators.  


In closing, we would like to echo the words of anti-fascist activists over the weekend who remind us that fury and love can coexist—We can simultaneously fight hate and work to build a better world. In these times, we must be courageous, confront our history and current reality, embrace where we have opportunities to create change, work to forge connections and coalitions, and value plurality rather than embrace fear and exclusion.