NBLSA Statement Following Events in Charlottesville, VA
WASHINGTON (August 18, 2017) -- There are many who deny the truth that racism does exist in the United States of America. However, the country now sees plainly the invidious evil that has been cultivated in the deep fringes of our society and now emboldened and encouraged by the top levels of authority in the federal government to be unabashed and open in their hatred and desire for regression. We see, in full color, a harrowing vision: the American Flag and symbols of hatred and genocide flying side by side, carried by those saluting and shouting slogans of division.
The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) calls this evil by its names: white supremacy, white nationalism, the Ku Klux Klan, and Neo-Nazism. NBLSA will never, ever fail to stand against hatred, division, and the right to safety and security for Black and minority law students, as well as for all citizens who seek to co-exist together in peace.
NBLSA stands with our members at the University of Virginia, and we stand in solidarity with citizens across this nation against this senseless hatred. Additionally, NBLSA mourns the loss of Heather Heyer, who was cut down while peacefully standing up for others. We shall honor her memory by never giving up or giving place or permanence to the elements that took her life.
The events in Charlottesville, this past weekend, brought death, discord, and dishonor to our country. Violent and incendiary rhetoric have been paired with literal marches by torchlight evoking memories long thought dead with cross burnings and the scourge of Nazi Germany. The failure of the President of the United States to fully, unequivocally condemn these repugnant elements only served to deepen the stain these horrific tragedies represent.
NBLSA has a responsibility to call out bigotry, denounce racism, and to fight injustice. We will not mince words and we cannot afford to let others turn a blind eye. This is hatred and has no place in our society. NBLSA rejects it. NBLSA condemns it. NBLSA stands ready to fight it – in the halls of power, in the courtroom, and in our communities.
NBLSA calls on its members to rededicate themselves to combatting racial injustice. NBLSA calls on the Mayor of Charlottesville and the Governor of Virginia to investigate the unusual absence of police presence during these “Alt right” riots. NBLSA calls on the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to launch a vigorous investigation to identify and prosecute these violent and incendiary groups. Lastly, NBLSA calls on Congress to hold hearings and investigate the rise of these groups and the role of federal officials, such as White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, in encouraging their rise and growth.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Fools multiply when wise men are silent.” NBLSA refuses to suffer fools silently. Still we rise, still we speak, still we fight until the promise of equality and justice is realized.
National Attorney General
Chair, NBLSA Advocacy Committee
Mark A. Dunham, Jr.
NBLSA National Chair