In The Wake Of Charlottesville’s ‘Unite The Right’ Rally, This Is What I Can Do

Sign against white supremacy stands out at a rally
Flickr / Jonathan Haynes

What can I do when I live in a world where terror reigns?

Where a crowd of enraged, torch-wielding white men besieges a city and murders a woman who dares to stand against them?

Oh, we’re not bigots or Nazis, they proclaim. We just want things to remain as they are.

But what can I do when the way things are means that a man can’t get out of his car to change a tire without fear of being shot?

And a woman must accept that she was ‘asking for it’?

What can I do when people don’t understand we’re just asking for equality, NOT superiority?

What can I do when I have to argue with ignorance?

Seriously though, what can I do when the one man who must condemn them does nothing but blame those “on many sides”?

When Nazis no longer live only in history books but walk among us, and become more emboldened by the day?

What can I do when you say you’re “entitled to your opinion”, but your opinion directly endangers the lives of others?

What can I do when a government legitimizes bigotry? When a whole nation has the power to tell my friends they can’t marry the one they love?

What can I do to understand why they won’t agree to let another person have happiness, especially when it won’t change their own life, at all?

What can I do to make them see that the sun will still rise tomorrow?

What can I do when I see immigrants excluded and abused?

What can I do when I see messages of hate scrawled on the bus stop seat as I wait for my bus every morning?

What can I do to understand why I, a white female, get called an expat when others are called immigrants?

What can I do when I see the angry everyman demanding borders to be closed, afraid only of what they do not understand?

What can I do?

I know what I can’t do. Say nothing. So I do the only thing I can do. I write.

I write this for anyone who truly still believes the status quo should remain, that so-called minorities are just “complaining”, that the leader of the free world isn’t a white supremacist.

I write this in hopes that someone reads it and asks themselves, “What can I do?

What can I do to understand why Neo-Nazis do not engage in “peaceful protest”, invoking the First Amendment?

Call it what it is: terrorism.

I write so people can see those who campaign loudly for their rights speak not to hurt others. They simply ask for the same privileges afforded to their neighbor.

So people can see that it’s okay if your kid’s best friend has two dads, so they can see that they’re even nice people.

So they see I do not have to fear my neighbor just because they believe in things I don’t understand.
I can just ask them about it.

I write this because that’s what I can do. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog