I use my words for a living, but I don’t quite have the words for what happened in America this past weekend in Charlottesville. Violent white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on Virginia and were given an absolute pass first by local and state police who gave them full permission to not just take over the streets but to do so with torches and weapons, while they chanted anti-black, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, and anti-immigrant sentiments. Noticing that police were giving them full reign to say or do whatever they want, they turned violent while Donald Trump, the President of the United States went silent.
White supremacists on the ground saw Trump’s silence as an endorsement. When a man who has words for everything and everybody, all of a sudden has no words, it’s an endorsement. And as the violence crescendoed, Trump still refused to call them out. Soon, a young woman who was actually a volunteer in my Injustice Boycott, Heather Heyer, was killed and nearly 20 beautiful, peaceful people – including a young mother and daughter, were seriously injured when a white supremacist drove his car straight into an unsuspecting crowd.
For nearly 24 hours a day since we learned of the assault, I’ve worked to identify the five different men responsible for this heinous crime and we have identified two of the five white supremacists. One is Dan Borden, a widely known Neo-Nazi, who was one of the most brutal in the assault. We have videos of him openly bragging about it, using racial slurs, just minutes after it happened. His high school classmates and Facebook friends all identified him to me. We are 100% sure that’s him.
The other man we identified is Michael Alex Ramos, who decided to do a Facebook Live video soon after the assault, again, bragging about it. We have images of this man putting what appear to be brass knuckles on his hands before he assaulted Deandre – elevating the nature of his crime. Both men are huge Donald Trump supporters, both men are white supremacists, and we are 100% sure of their identities. At least three different people filmed the assault in horrific detail, but here we are. No arrests have been made, no warrants have been issued.
That was Saturday. This is Thursday.
Now, let’s juxtapose the freedom of Dan Borden and Michael Ramos with that of a courageous young sister named Takiya Thompson from Durham, North Carolina.
On Monday, Takiya Thompson wrapped a yellow strap around the neck of a Confederate statue in downtown Durham while people there in the community, primarily white people, helped pull it down, then stomped on it.
On Tuesday, Takiya was charged with multiple felonies then arrested. Do you hear what I’m saying? A black woman played a role in taking down a statue and justice is swift, but a group of white supremacists nearly kills a young black man, and all of a sudden justice slows down to a snail’s pitch.
I was told yesterday from a source inside of the Charlottesville Police Department that they’d soon be issuing arrest warrants for the two men we’ve identified, but I’ll believe it when I see it. It should’ve already happened. What this delay tells us is that in the eyes of this justice system, a black life means less than a white statue. In essence, even white statues have white privilege, and damaging them brings felony charges that were never brought against the men who not only mauled Deandre Harris, but I could sit right here and name 10,000 black men, women, boys, and girls killed by American police who never received the swift justice that the Confederate statue has already received.
I started off by saying I don’t quite have the words for how I’m feeling. By that, I mean to say that I think our nation has crossed into an ugly new era. White supremacy and bigotry have been present here since the formal founding of this nation, but to have a President of the United States endorse and defend them the way Trump has done has emboldened these bigots in a way that bigoted police commissioner Bull Connor did in Birmingham generations ago.
Trump is our Bull Connor. The question that I want to ask this morning is, if Trump is Bull Connor, and our nation is facing a crisis of bigotry, who are you? What will you do? What will you demand? How will you stand up? Because the time demands it.
(Photo Credit: Courtland Wells/The Vicksburg Post via AP)
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