By Christine Mason
Heather Heyer, a 32-year old legal assistant, was killed and 19 were injured when a white supremacist from Ohio rammed his car into the group of counter-protestors at the site of a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA. Heather’s mother, Susan Bro, told MSNBC that Heather had been “passionate about justice for everyone and fairness and fair treatment.” This senseless act of violence is being labeled as “domestic terrorism” by some.
“There was nothing haphazard about the violence that erupted today in this bucolic town in Virginia’s heartland. At about 10 a.m.today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.. And the white supremacists who showed up in Charlottesville did indeed come prepared for violence. Many wore helmets and carried clubs, medieval-looking round wooden shields, and rectangular plexiglass shields, similar to those used by riot police. ”
University of Virginia student Virginia Ciambotti described it this way: “Violence and hate and blood, that’s what I saw. What happened in Charlottesville this past weekend wasn’t a rally. It was a riot.”
As a human being I am saddened by the loss of life and the ferocity of the hate in Charlottesville. As a citizen of Virginia and the United States, I feel a sense of shame that this would happen on our soil and a sense of helplessness as we encounter continuing violence. As an educator, I remain determined to help steer our ship around to get back on track, to steer away from hate, and violence, and bigotry . . . to steer towards caring, compassion, and civility.