America’s largest LGBTQ rights group has condemned the white supremacists’ rally, violence and attack on counter protesters in Charlottesville.
The Virginia university town was besieged on the weekend by racist groups who demonstrated to “Unite the Right” for three days, leading to the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old anti-hate counter protester.
She was killed and 19 others were injured on Saturday when a man, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr, allegedly deliberately drove his car into a crowd of pro-equality counter protesters.
The demonstrations were sparked by plans to remove a statue of Civil War Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from the town’s Emancipation Park.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said the weekend could represent “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States”. The neo-Nazi extremists behind the clashes and violence not only espouse nationalistic and racist ideologies but also made clear their views on LGBTQ people.
Huffington Post reporter Christopher Mathias saw this first hand when he filmed a group repeatedly shouting “Fuck you faggots!” accompanied by drums.
“Hate and bigotry must never be met with silence or half-hearted rebukes,” commented Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
He said the events in Charlottesville “are a stark reminder that the racism and white supremacy that has been allowed to fester for generations has recently been emboldened by the policies and rhetoric of politicians like Donald Trump”.
Griffin continued: “The Human Rights Campaign offers our condolences to the family of the counter protester who lost their life and all those injured. Today and everyday, we must be outraged by this kind of prejudice and we will continue to confront this violent hatred wherever it rears its ugly head.”
On Monday, President Trump bowed to overwhelming pressure to finally explicitly condemn the white supremacists; two days after Heyer’s murder.
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” he said.