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Charlottesville: Responses, Resources, and Action Items

Compiled by BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz staff

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August 17, 2017

Charlottesville: Responses, Resources, and Action Items

Photo from www.sojo.net

As part of our mission to raise the visibility of peace-making, justice-seeking work, we offer these resources from people and groups who are responding to the events that took place in Charlottesville, VA the weekend of August 11-13, 2017. We know there are literally thousands of resources available and so we've sifted through to offer you what we think are some of the best of the best to challenge, push, inspire and equip you and your churches and organizations in your own work against the evil of White Supremacy. 


RESPONSES

Meet the clergy who stared down white supremacists in Charlottesville by Jack Jenkins
Among the many untold stories of the harrowing day is the account of hundreds of religious leaders who descended on Charlottesville to resist white supremacy. Many stood arm-in-arm while staring down white supremacists—and plan to do it again.

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A Response to Charlottesville from the Alliance of Baptists
As congregations gather to worship the Sunday following the hate crimes and terror fueled by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., we, followers of Jesus, stand with the people and clergy of Congregate Charlottesville/Charlottesville Clergy Collective seeking justice for all, rejecting white supremacy and all forms of violence. We acknowledge the wounds of racism caused by our nation’s history and the necessity of significant systemic repentance. In response to the white supremacist chant of “you won’t replace us,” that echoed throughout the University of Virginia campus, our prayer in response to the hate-filled chant is a prayer for the justice-love of God to fill us. 

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The Faith-Led Counter-Protest to White Nationalism in Charlottesville (Video) with sermons by Traci Blackmon & Cornel West; Posted by the Sojourners Web Editors
In Charlottesville Friday evening, Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Traci Blackmon, and other faith leaders led an interfaith prayer service as the group prepared to march in counter-protest on Saturday.

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Confessions of a "Moderate Christian" in Charlottesville on August 12 by Michael Cheuk
I confess that I have preferred a negative peace which maintained my privilege and ease over a positive peace which draws me into the tension, pain and struggle that is the work of justice. I confess that I have been more worried about what some people might say about me if they saw me working alongside members of “Black Lives Matter,” “Standing Up for Racial Justice” and other more “radical” groups in the cause of resisting white supremacy, than what my conscience would tell me if I did not. I confess that I have been more concerned about the profanity used by some counter-protesters on that day than the profane oppression that my black brothers and sisters and other minorities have faced for years.

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Charlottesville by Kelly Gallagher
I was at Charlottesville. Something tells me this will be a phrase that will be a part of the rest of my life. The clergy call to Charlottesville came from a new organization – “Congregate” - that formed quickly in the face of the growing presence of the alt-right and white nationalists descending on Charlottesville over the last few months. Saturday’s rally would have been the fourth, and largest, rally this year in Charlottesville of those who follow their god and gospel of hate, violence and fear. Indeed, some say it would have been the largest gathering of hate groups in decades. Congregate called on clergy to come and stand with them in Charlottesville, to bring Jesus’ Gospel of love to that place, knowing full well that it would be dangerous. Indeed, we were encouraged to record our statement of why we came and share it with a loved one, “in case the worst happened.”

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Will America Pick Up Its Cross by Lisa Sharon Harper
On Saturday, August 12, in Charlottesville, I was faced with a choice: “Would I pick up my cross?” Jesus warns his disciples: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35). Just before walking onto the street, organizers of the Charlottesville Clergy Call walked us through the changing dynamics of the situation. There would be four times more white nationalists in Charlottesville than previously projected. One quarter of the clergy they thought would be there actually showed up. If we stepped onto the street we were risking arrest, injury or death—from the police or the white nationalists. We knew what we were walking into. We knew that we might not come back.

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Psalm 109: A reading after Charlottesville by Greg Jarrell
Do not be silent, O God of the oppressed. For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against your beloved; They speak of greatness with lying tongues. They attack the disinherited with words of hate, They claim to be oppressed without cause. They hate the truth; They love to deceive themselves; They return evil for love. They go about sowing chaos, They attack those who act with honor.

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What I Saw in Charlottesville by Brian McLaren
As I wrote last week, I accepted an invitation from the Charlottesville clergy to come to their city the weekend of the Unite the Right rally, to join them in witness against white supremacy, Neo-naziism, racism, and associated evils, which are counter to both the Christian gospel and American democracy.Free speech is a protected right and we were not protesting against the rally’s right to speak; rather, we were using our right to free speech to bear witness for a better message of conciliation and peace, and we were supporting the clergy of Charlottesville to stand against the incursion of white supremacists like Richard Spencer. Here are some initial reflections based on my experience – on the white supremacists and their message, on the clergy and faith community, on the other anti-racism protestors, on the police, and on next steps.

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Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, on behalf of the NC NAACP and the Moral Movement, calls on all political leaders to denounce the hate-driven violence of white nationalist groups as well as the political agenda they promote from the NC NAACP
Our political leaders, from President Trump, Paul Ryan & Mitch McConnell to senior leadership among the Democrats, have said they oppose the violent white supremacy that killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens in Charlottesville. And we should. We should hold her and her family in deep love and prayer as well as all those emotionally and physically injured. The test of any politician, however, is the policy they pursue. Will these same political leaders renounce the mean-spirited, race-driven and socially violent policy agenda of white supremacy that precipitated and emboldened the actions and attitude of white supremacist and nationalists? Will they stand together to embrace a moral agenda that works to reconstruct America?

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Charlottesville: A Pastor's Reflections by Alan Newton
The violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia have exposed the deep seated racially sins, which have been with us from the birth of this nation. Only recently, have these groups been emboldened by political rhetoric, which resonates with their bitterness and anger. They claim that they would like to "take American back" when in truth it was never theirs to own.

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Reflections on Charlottesville for white Christians by Kristopher Norris
I spent seven years living in Charlottesville, Va., and returned to the city to join Congregate Charlottesville in bearing witness to the gospel of love and proclaiming that black lives matter to the “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally. Much has been written well already on the horrible events of the day and the twisted ideologies — and theologies — that animate such evil. For white Christians, this event should pull us up short and compel us to repent for what we have done; white supremacy is of our doing. We should also reflect and search for lessons, for glimpses of God’s grace in the face of evil — not grace that absolves but grace that pushes us toward justice.

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A Response to Charlottesville from On Earth Peace
On Earth Peace stands with the Church of the Brethren, its pastors, leaders, agencies, and members, in rejection of the racist violence and white supremacist intimidation on display once again in Charlottesville, Virginia (August 12, 2017). The “Unite the Right” marchers chanted words of hatred against Jews, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to all those who were targeted in these chants, to the injured, and to the families of those who have died. We are outraged and horrified that anyone should have to experience such physical and spoken cruelty against their very being with threat of violence. We want all those who experienced this onslaught of rejection and threat to know that we hear the false equivalency in some of the arguments being made. These arguments are designed to minimize and deflect attention away from the utter moral repugnance of the hatred you have suffered.

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White Supremacy Versus the Gospel in Charlottesville by David Potter
On Friday, I traveled to Charlottesville, Va., to bear witness. What I saw there deeply unsettled me. White supremacists, gathered for a rally at a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, boldly manifested the evil legacy of America’s original sin. Unfolding in streets throughout the city, the heritage of whiteness was revealed in full display. Perhaps most disturbing was the unashamed nature of this hate-filled display: In 2017, white supremacists wear no hoods.

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We’ve condemned white nationalism. Now the harder work begins. by Noel Schoonmaker
As a white Baptist pastor, I thoroughly denounce the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last weekend. Racist hatred is evil. It has no place in society and no place in church. I find it horrifying to have to say such things, as if there is any question on the matter. In fact, I worry that saying too much in response to such extremism only emboldens its practitioners all the more. White supremacists are currently receiving an incredible amount of attention in news media and in Christian pulpits. It is important to recognize that when so many words are negatively formed against a fringe movement, the movement begins to occupy an important type of center: the center of the conversation.

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We Are Charlottesville by Ken Sehested
Pulling back the veil of our glamorized national history will not be pretty. The first step South Africa took in emerging from its nightmarish history was its Truth and Reconciliation process, a painful and messy affair and only a first step. The work of reconciliation is not like taking a pill. It is a long process whose completion none of us will likely live to see. If you know anything about restorative justice, you know the goal of truthtelling is not to decide who to blame and how to punish them. It is to learn who has been harmed, and how; and who must be involved, in what ways, to heal the wound. The horizon is not retribution but restitution, restoration, reconciliation.

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Lord, Save Me! (A Sermon on Christianity and White Supremacy) by Nadia Bolz Weber
Jesus sends the disciples out in a boat and then there is a terrible storm and the wind is against them and they are scared. I don’t think the failure of the disciples was that they found a storm at sea to be terrifying because that shit is scary. I think their failure was not unlike ours: they didn’t trust that God would make it possible for them to do what was asked of them….meaning Jesus was the one who sent them in that boat – he wasn’t going to send them out just to sit by and let them drown. If he sent them he would shield them – not from danger but from failure. It’s stormy and we are scared and Jesus walks toward us saying Take heart, I am here, do not be afraid.

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A Statement on White Supremacy & Racism by Christian Ethicists without Borders
As followers of Jesus Christ and as Christian ethicists representing a range of denominations and schools of thought, we stand in resolute agreement in firmly condemning racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and neo-Nazi ideology as a sin against God that divides the human family created in God’s image. We proclaim that the gospel of Jesus Christ has social and political implications. Those who claim salvation in Jesus Christ, therefore, must publicly name evil, actively resist it, and demonstrate a world of harmony and justice in the midst of racial, religious and indeed all forms of human diversity.

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RESOURCES

After Charlottesville, What's Next by Katharine R. Henderson
Some articles, responses, and resources for people wanting to get involved in confronting white supremacy.

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ACTIONS

Support Black Organizers in Charlottesville from Black Lives Matter Charlottesville
Provide financial support for ongoing mental health care, trauma counseling, and living expenses for Black organizers in Charlottesville

Click here to donate.

Sign these petitions from Color of Change
With decisive and strategic action, we can make sure that white supremacists don't have the power to make Charlottesville happen ever again. Here are four places where your voice is needed to stand up for Black and Brown folks in this moment.

Condemn White Supremacy and Violence (Petition) from Faith in Public Life
Today we faith leaders call on all elected officials to explicitly and publicly condemn white supremacy and the organizations that advance and seek to give it mainstream credibility. 

Keep reading and sign...

Remove Charlottesville Statues (Petition) from Showing Up for Racial Justice
Petition Mayor Mike Signer and Councilwoman Kathy Galvin to change their votes against removing the Robert E. Lee statue and to also remove all other confederate monuments, as a sign that they support community safety and reconciliation. Failing that, local activists will ask for their resignations and for Police Chief Al Thomas to step down.

Click here to sign.

Donate to the Medical Fund for Charlottesville
People in Charlottesville are still dealing with medical bills from the attacks of white supremacists with sticks, weapons and fists. Please contribute to the medical fund.

Click here to donate.

Call the office of Judge Richard Moore of the Charlottesville Circuit Court (434-970-3766) to urge him to dismiss an upcoming court case for which there is an August 30 hearing, disputing the ability of the City Council to remove the Robert E. Lee statue that white supremacists are defending. Here's a sample script:

I'm leaving a message for Judge Moore regarding the upcoming Monument Fund hearing, scheduled for August 30. As someone concerned about community safety, I strongly urge you to join the City of Charlottesville in dismissing this case, which will continue to sow violence in the community. Thank you.

OTHER

What Your Church Can Do About Racial Justice compiled by BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz staff
A resource for your congregation to use around conversations on race and racism. Click here.

Resource Kits from BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz
BPFNA resource kits are compilations of resources on various issues. Like this one, we have more that provide helpful information on allyship and standing up against white supremacy and racism. Click here.



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