Statement on Charlottesville

As we all know, last week we saw the true face of America’s political right. We saw the true face of white privilege, white supremacy, and white passivity from those who have been standing by. Charlottesville has been a warning to all of us in a few different ways. It has been a warning to white people, to make sure that we never forget to fight back against institutions built by and for us. It’s been a warning to leftists, to remind us that they are afraid of losing and they’re feeling the pressure now more than ever. It’s a reminder most of all to people of color and oppressed groups, that America hasn’t much changed for them. It is on us, young leaders, to do something.

It has come to my attention that the president of my university, St. John’s University, has not yet made a statement about the events of last week despite using student body diversity as a marketing tool. So, today, we take matters into our own hands. I and a few of my peers put some statements together to remind students that they aren’t alone, that someone is listening, that we vow to do something.

“2017. I never thought I’d live through the blatant racism and white supremacy that plagued the Unite The Right riot in Charlottesville. As a member of the class of 2021, a St. John’s student, a human being, I ask all of us to mobilize and empower ourselves. Vote, go to protests, call/email your representatives and be restlessly passionate.”

“As a white ally, I have it in my heart to say now more than ever that we need to be better and do better. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and talk about how horrible the oppression and racism are. We can no longer expect our passive, quiet disapproval to stop horrible things from happening. We must speak out and use our institutional power to create change, to make space for oppressed people, to fight back (physically or not) against those who want this country to regress. We can no longer stand for the America that is quiet in the face of oppression. An America that oppresses one oppressed all.”

“Charlottesville statement: it’s important that people of color, Jews, LGBTQ, immigrants, Muslims, allies, etc. stand in solidarity against white supremacy and bigotry. Staying neutral in the face of injustice aids the oppressor and hurts the oppressed.”

“The world saw what happened in Charlottesville. We cannot let them be what the world sees. We got rid of the Nazis when they grew abroad, and now it is time to get rid of them at home. These are domestic terrorists who should be treated as such, and I know everyone here at SJE will continue to work to bring this to an end.”

If you are a student and would like to add a statement, please email sjexchangelj@gmail.com

We are also working on a project with the website Chronicle, to remind people that we are stronger, louder, and more unified now than ever before. Please check out that project here.

-LJ Vogel, founder of SJE

Featured Image Credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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