Dear WestCoast Community:
Over the weekend white nationalists rallied in Charlottesville to protest the removal of Confederate symbols. Carrying torches, chanting Nazi slogans and waving Confederate flags, they incited violence that culminated in a car mowing down counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring 19 people. This open convening of proud white supremacists was unmistakably emboldened by the election of Donald Trump. The President condemned hatred “on many sides,” grossly equating white nationalists and their counter-protesters.
There is only one side here—bigotry. It goes against everything we value in our work with children and our community.
Michael Eric Dyson summed up the link between Charlottesville and the broader “bigotocracy” in his op-ed:
Such an ungainly assembly of white supremacists rides herd on political memory. Their resentment of the removal of public symbols of the Confederate past — the genesis of this weekend’s rally — is fueled by revisionist history. They fancy themselves the victims of the so-called politically correct assault on American democracy, a false narrative that helped propel Mr. Trump to victory. Each feeds on the same demented lies about race and justice that corrupt true democracy and erode real liberty. Together they constitute the repulsive resurgence of a virulent bigotocracy.
We know this is not an isolated incident on the other side of our country—it’s a daily experience for people of color and other marginalized groups here in our communities, and it is deeply ingrained in our institutions. The Trump Administration continues to fuel hatred, as evident in anti-immigration policy and aggressive deportations; attempts to dismantle affirmative action; support for police violence; banning transgender people from the military; and eroding protections for LGBTQ individuals. And that’s just to name a few.
Words are inadequate to capture and communicate the feelings and thoughts resulting from these highly visible events and the everyday reality they represent. These events can be particularly difficult for children to process and understand. Below are some resources for talking to kids about racism and violence:
- LA Times: How to talk to your kids about the violence in Charlottesville
- Race Conscious: What Charlottesville means for our black family
- Washington Post: The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about hatred in America. Here’s help.
WestCoast Children’s Clinic Leadership Team