(Image Credit: New York Times)
After the terrifying events of this weekend in Charlottesville, I felt at a loss. It's only getting worse. White supremacists are emboldened, they feel safe enough to show their faces. They feel safe enough to be violent against humans that just want equal rights. They feel safe enough to kill them. What's worse is seeing how white supremacists are free to rally and be protected by the police in ways that Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock protesters never could.
This is not the first time something like this has happened and it will not be the last.
It's events like these that make you feel like you're drowning and there is nothing you can do to prevent a large amount of hateful people from continuing to feel the way that they do, and risk other people's lives doing it. The number of hate groups in America has doubled since the 1990s peaking at over 1000 in 2011. There are more than 300 violent attacks carried out by far right extremists every year. Statistics like these are alarming, even paralyzing.
That sea just keeps getting deeper when you consider the other big event dominating the news cycle this week: nuclear war with North Korea. What can we even do about that? How can we stop two leaders incapable of thinking about anyone other than themselves to not use their citizens as pawns in a nuclear tic-tac-toe game? (There are never winners in tic-tac-toe. Only draws.)
So what do we do? How do we stay focused in a news cycle that's never ending? How can we learn to play the game when there are no clear rules, someone has taken the ball and is now using a land mine?
Where do we go from here? What can I do? Why do I even bother? I made this website to try to make change, even if it's small. I am trying to learn about the government bit by bit but by the time I grasp one subject -- it changes right under my nose. How the hell do I play catch-up to a group of people that aren't even playing the same game? How do I even begin to chip away at the systems that are preventing America from becoming the progressive, inclusive nation we hope it can be?
It's moments like these that make me feel hopeless and discouraged. Like nothing I do, like this little website I made, will ever make a difference. It's times like these that I have to remind myself that doing something is better than nothing. We do nothing -- they win automatically. As long as we are fighting back, even in small, everyday ways, we are asserting our power over them. For that reason, we must go on.
Look at the responses of people around the country today and yesterday: New Yorkers gathered around Trump Tower tonight to protest Trump's lack of leadership and, in Durham, protesters took down a Confederate statue. There are things we can do to assert our power and humanity over hate.
If you want to do something, look up any events or rallies in your town to combat white nationalism. Put pressure on Trump and your local politicians to denounce and fire known white supremacists in the government (#FireBannon and #FireGorka are trending right now. Send a tweet! Write a letter!) Sign this petition to encourage Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate white supremacists as domestic terrorists. The Southern Poverty Law Center is a great resource for learning about hate groups in the US. They have compiled a list of ten ways you can fight hate in all areas of your life.
If you have any ideas for how we can continue to fight hate and white supremacy, let us know in the comments below. There is a lot that we can do if we each pitch in and work together.
This post is dedicated to Heather Heyer who sacrificed her life for a greater cause. She believed in equality and love, let's keep that dream alive for her and all the others who have fought and died for it.
(Image Credit: Facebook via Reuters)