How can you wrap your head around what happened in Charlottesville — how it came about and what to do now? We’re trying to keep educating ourselves, speaking out and supporting organizations that help. “Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division,” Representative John Lewis has said. Here are a few things to read, listen to and do…
WHAT TO LISTEN TO
The Code Switch team.
These days, it’s especially important to have a great source of news and push yourself outside your bubble. Two podcasts we highly recommend: Code Switch, an eye-opening weekly NPR podcast hosted by journalists of color who address the trickiest questions about race in America. And The Daily, a 20-minute weekday podcast from The New York Times. (Yesterday’s episode included first-hand footage from a correspondent in Charlottesville; and today’s episode detailed a city councilor’s experience during the fight over the Robert E. Lee monument, and the chain of events that led to this weekend’s violence.)
It’s Been a Minute is another podcast to add to your playlist. Host Sam Sanders took on the topic of “Charlottesville and White People” in his latest episode. For his part, Sanders sees the hashtag #ThisIsNotUs, which went viral in the aftermath of Charlottesville, as unhelpful. “Even if we don’t think we’re part of the problem, we’re part of the system that has a problem,” he says. “That means that every day we have to ask ourselves what we’re doing to make things better or worse. And a hashtag like #ThisIsNotUs… that’s just a cop-out.”
WHAT TO WATCH
A Vice News reporter goes behind the scenes with white nationalist leaders and gives a scarily close-up look into the events over the weekend in Charlottesville, from the torch march on Friday to the deadly car attack the following day. The footage is extremely hard to watch, but try not to look away: It gives an inside look at what went down from the eyes of both the protesters and the counter-protesters.
Don’t Be a Sucker — a 17-minute anti-fascist film from 1947 that has reemerged online since Saturday — is a cautionary tale against complacency.
WHAT TO READ
How We Got Here: A Charlottesville Reading List (Longreads). Charlottesville didn’t materialize out of thin air. These nine gripping articles trace the movements of the past two years that helped fuel last weekend’s events.
Is There Any Point to Protesting? (The New Yorker). It would be easy to feel powerless and defeated, but here’s why we shouldn’t stop resisting: “What was the Women’s March about? Empowerment, human rights, discontent — you know. Why did it matter? Because we were there. Self-government remains a messy, fussy, slow, frustrating business. We do well to remind those working its gears and levers that the public — not just the appalled me but the conjoined us whom the elected serve — is watching and aware. More than two centuries after our country took its shaky first steps, the union is miles from perfection. But it is still on its feet, sometimes striding, frequently stumbling. The march goes on, and someday, not just in our dreams, we’ll make it home.”
WHAT TO DO
The civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center created an online handbook, 10 Ways to Fight Hate, that’s full of ideas big and small on how to bring about change in yourself and your community. “Use whatever skills and means you have,” it urges. “Offer your print shop to make fliers. Share your musical talents at a rally. Give your employees the afternoon off to attend.”
If you are able to, here are three places to donate:
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which is dedicated to fighting hate and standing up for victims of discrimination.
Showing Up for Racial Justice’s Charlottesville branch (SURJ), which resists white supremacy through racial justice organizing efforts.
The Stop Hate Project, which combats hate incidents by connecting victims with established legal and social services resources.
During times like this, when you can feel devastated by the news, it’s encouraging to take action and notice others around you doing good. This week we saw cookbook author Julia Turshen make huge trays of mac and cheese for a friend in need and local phone bank volunteers. “Home cooking can sustain, fuel, balm and bolster communities,” she said. And Wes Bellamy, the young vice mayor of Charlottesville, is helping to reunite his city. “The Charlottesville that I know is a place that will rally around each other,” he says. “And we are going to love each other. And we will be stronger because of it.”
Wes Bellamy, the vice mayor of Charlottesville.