INTERVIEW: Artists playing the Charlottesville Medical Relief Weekend speak on protest and the rhetoric of hate

The events of Charlottesville kicked off a storm of national controversy, between noted Fascists and White Supremacists attempting to “Unite the Right,” at a protest ostensibly tied to the impending removal of a confederate statue. Counter protestors gathered to send a clear message to the fascists and white supremacists (and those that sided with them) had to say: you are not welcome. That platform was met with violence that weekend, culminating in the murder of Heather Heyer, a member of Antifa peacefully protesting away from the gathered contingent of Nazis, neo or otherwise, and/or bigots of any other stripe.

This weekend, a wide variety of Louisville musician’s are banding together to help the victims of that incident, which injured many, including friends in town. You can get info on the show here and check them out at the Mammoth this Friday. In preparation for that event, we’ve asked some of the good folks involved two questions: Why is this cause important to you? What was your take away from the Charlottesville protests and how do you hope to see things progress in the future?

William Benton (Cat Casual)
There is a clear, correct, ethical position on this and it is to be in complete opposition to white nationalists, Nazis…and and all groups that feel that they are above other human beings because of their race, gender, and/or country of origin.

With my limited education and finances, I try and do what I can- and the takeaway from Charlottesville was that this is a very real and present danger to human rights. These people have a POTUS that has cracked open the door for them and let it be known that their dubious and dangerous beliefs are perfectly fine with he and his handlers as long as it empowers them. Fascists see an opportunity here and they are going to take it. And I feel like Charlottesville could be the beginning of something larger and uglier. Opposition to them and support of organizations that do work to counter their actions is essential right now.

Virginia Lee (event coordinator)
The “Unite the Right” rally was constitutionally protected as were the counter protesters who felt that those that organized the rally were promoting hateful rhetoric. When it comes down to it, being American is more than being a certain color, creed or identity. It’s a right that everyone should be equally accepted and any thing else is hateful to our development and how we see ourselves in the world. The events in Charlottesville created a catalyst that highlighted undertones and grumblings from factions long since repressed and it’s come to a point where you’re on one side or another. With this benefit show, we hope to raise awareness of the hard choices every American must make within themselves and stand in solidarity not just for Charlottesville but for anyone who feels that white nationalism and supremacy is wrong and very anti-American.

Brian Manley (Insect Policy)
This matters to me for a lot of reasons. People were hurt protesting against racism and hatred. Despite any slanderous right-wing blabber-agenda that circles in its own lying talking point that considers Antifa the enemy, these were people fighting against fascism and hatred. We need people like this when we live in a new regressive society which has elevated fascism, racism, sexism, xenophobia and a lot of other bad things as trendy ideologies to pursue as Trump dwells on the ratings of his new show “American Stupidity 2017.” It’s good that we have people there showing that those who want to take away freedom and tolerance will not be tolerated. When James Alex Fields drove his Charger into the crowd, these people were peacefully marching. At least 19 hurt – including a friend from Louisville – and one dead. He planned a cowardly attack after most of the activities had died down.

So, being that we live in a country that currently has (confusingly) not decided which is worse: white supremacists or those that fight them; that is ruled by a dark master of confusion and bile called Trump, who has let his racist colors shine as he sides with the Nazis/fascists/KKK and criticizes those that were there to oppose such nonsense; and that we live in a country that seems to devalue health care, then yes, raising money for people hurt actively fighting the fight against some actual villains is very important.

I was glued to the news that day, knowing it was a war in Charlottesville. It’s awful that the US has sunken back to these levels and that there has to be an actual mobilization against such a farcical group of brainless and lost group(s) of people. And to some of the population, I assume they consider this the be the ridiculous attempt at the pedestaled “Great Again” concept; to step backwards. I’ve known of these groups for a while and known of some of the other “smaller” fights that have happened. The main positive takeaway from Charlottesville for me was that these groups were exposed, mainstream media covered it and we saw the images of hateful young men, exposing that this is a real thing happening in modern America. And then Trump went and said evil, stupid things, and the public opinion, for a minute, at least, remembered that KKK and Nazis and white nationalism and white supremacy are not things we want in America. I hope that swelling against the lies these people live in continues, because the fight for a country that embraces everyone of any race, religion, culture, or gender identification will not end.

GRLWood
There were people injured in a terror attack fueled by racism, and the governing powers of this country are partly at fault for parenting said violent ideology. The governing system also refused to acknowledge that this was indeed a terroristic hate crime fueled by racism, and instead defined a group of anti-racists’ as terrorists, and chalked the whole incedent up as “two sides, equally guilty of a bad out-come”.

The people affected from the attack are in need of help from a source that really should be our governing system.
Like, at least, a “hey, gov. is wierd right now, mate, sorry about all of the fresh-confidence nazis, here is some money to help with therapy/med bills, cus one of ’em ran your partner over with a car. that shouldnt have happend, we ‘gon try and fix this. my bad.”

This event is an example of people taking those powers into their own hands to help those affected by what happened in Charloettesville.
Some people live in a safe world, some people live in a very unsafe world, and all we have is each other.

I hope to see an gov. that admits it’s problem, is that, its being has been built on a system of racial oppression, and that it needs to be purged. Reform law enforcement, prison system, gov. snap, and welfare reg., education; the list is long.