Black Lives Matter leaders are all too familiar with the racism that breeds in America, leading many within the organization to see the hate expressed by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday as no surprise.
“The white supremacist violence we are witnessing in Charlottesville is not new,” the social justice organization wrote in a statement published to its Facebook page on Saturday. “Instead it is constant, ever-evolving and a staple of American culture and society.”
BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors also sent a statement of her own to HuffPost, saying: “Our work is clearer now more than ever. We must collectively interrupt their hate, their lies, and their delusions. We need to rise up.”
Saturday’s demonstration saw hundreds of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and KKK members marching through Charlottesville’s streets chanting out phrases in support of white power. The march was initially organized out of protest over the removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert Lee. Violence quickly erupted as marchers met with counter-protesters and police in riot gear, leaving 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured.
“In the face of hatred and vitriol from the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists, we support the people of Charlottesville who are advocating against fascism and antiBlack racism,” BLM’s statement read.
BLM added that the events in Charlottesville helped to put on display the ways in which “white supremacy is fueling a genocide against black people” specifically.
“We live in a world where black people are targeted for death and destruction; and in a country where there are hundreds of statues and monuments ... dedicated to the confederacy, we cannot be surprised when moments such as these happen,” the statement says. “Charlottesville is a confirmation of the violence that black people must endure from day to day.”
Over the last four years, BLM has organized protests and events speaking out against America’s racist treatment of black people. And while the organization acknowledges images from Charlottesville that capture this weekend’s abhorrent violence, they say it is the “more insidious forms” of systemic racism that lead to the daily dehumanization of black communities ―like the lack of access to affordable health care and housing, as well as criminalization of black men and women.
“We call on everyone to pay attention to the ways white supremacy manifests in our workplaces, our schools, and our homes,” the statement read. “We stand with the people of Charlottesville who are fighting for a world in which the inherent humanity of all people is honored.”