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Charlottesville: A Call to Action

Statement from SJF Executive Director Mijo Lee

Social Justice Fund NW joins with all who fight for justice across the country and around the world in condemning the horror in Charlottesville this weekend. Our communities have long been targeted by and resisted the terror of genocide of indigenous peoples, slavery, brutality of state violence, white nationalism and anti-Semitism. But the events on Saturday were devastating not just because of the ruthless violence toward protesters or the terrible spectacle of the largest gathering of white nationalists in recent history, but because the President of the United States defended their actions and signaled to them that their beliefs and behavior were accepted and welcome at the highest level of government.

Against this backdrop, SJF grantee organizations stand with others around the country in saying an emphatic NO to this vile demonstration of white nationalism, racism and anti-Semitism, and continue their work to build the world we want to see. SJF grantees like Rural Organizing Project and Montana Human Rights Network have fought for decades against efforts of right-wing and white nationalist groups to gain ground in their communities. SJF grantees like WA-BLOC in Seattle will continue organizing and educating to disrupt systemic racism and dismantle the school to prison pipeline to remove barriers to communities of color, particularly African Americans. Voz Workers' Rights Education Project in Portland will continue to empower immigrant workers to advocate for policy change, economic and civil rights through worker organizing. These efforts and many, many, others are making it harder and harder for right-wing groups to advance their agendas in our communities.

This work will continue and strengthen. As we always do, we will hold each other up, build our collective power and bend the arc toward justice.

In solidarity,

Mijo

P.S. If you would like to support the work in Charlottesville, please take the following eight actions requested by organizers on the ground. Some thoughts from our grantees and grantee organizations:

“We are no strangers to senseless white supremacist violence, nor to influxes of people from around the country eager to speak for us. From the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover to the MAX killings, Charlottesville is hitting close to home… We have seen an increase in many types of violence and threats against our neighbors, ranging from bias crimes to neo-Nazi activity to the breaking up of families through detention and deportation. For many of us, we feel not only a deep empathy with Charlottesville in this moment, but also a deep resonance and a heightened call to action.”
 
Every leader and everyone of us must condemn, not only the bigotry on display in Charlottesville, but in our institutions, our history, our symbols and our politics. We will name those responsible. We will describe the destructive beliefs of racism, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, and fascism. We will speak for inclusive democracy!
 
Photo Description: Above, a photo of Seattle-based author Octavia Butler, along with a quote from her "Earthseed" trilogy. “It’s been a horrible week. We’ve taken both today and yesterday as rest days. We might take tomorrow as well. We are all sore and sick, in mourning and exhausted - yet triumphant. Odd to be triumphant. I think it’s because most of us are still alive. We are a harvest of survivors. But then, that’s what we have always been.”