Though Trump has thus far failed to say so explicitly, this weekend's attack in Charlottesville was an act of domestic terrorism. Police say 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of protesters before fleeing the scene. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in the attack.
Fields has been described as an "open admirer" of Adolf Hitler. Speaking with ABC News, Derek Weimer—one of Fields' teachers at Randall K. Cooper High School in Kentucky—said Fields thought "Nazis were pretty cool guys." Former students at the school recalled a post-graduation trip to Europe, during which they visited the Dachau concentration camp in Germany where at least 28,000 died. According to two classmates, Fields said "this is where the magic happened" upon their arrival at the site.
In response to the Charlottesville terror attack, peaceful solidarity protests were organized across the country. Politicians, celebrities, and leading activists have spoken out about the importance of roundly rejecting the rhetoric of neo-Nazi groups.
So what can you do to help with Charlottesville's recovery while also fighting against neo-Nazism in your town? We've put together a brief guide below on how to become involved, both with Charlottesville and the halting of neo-Nazi normalization nationwide.
If you have expendable income, why not throw a little of it at a fundraiser for Charlottesville victims' medical expenses or a group committed to combating the increase in hate crimes? Even small donations help. Below, you can find a selection of worthy causes and groups.
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center maintains an extensive catalog of activities from what they call the "American radical right." The catalog, called Hatewatch, provides regular updates on everything from mainstream stories, such as the Charlottesville terror attacks, to lesser known happenings, such as the recent Make Men Great Again soiree in Huntington Beach, California. Donate to the SPLC here.
Stop Hate Project
The Stop Hate Project was founded by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to help support organizations that work actively to battle hate in their communities. Stop Hate provides resources (including organization contact info, mental health services, and—when warranted—access to legal counsel) via their hotline 1-844-9-NO-HATE. To donate to Stop Hate, click here.
C-Ville Victim Relief
Charlottesville community members have come together to raise money to help the victims of the terror attack. All funds, according to the GoFundMe page, will be transferred to the City of Charlottesville "or an appropriate body" once collected. For more info, click here.
Black Student Alliance at UVA
Mentioned in writer Sara Benincasa's viral Medium post "What to Do About Charlottesville," the Black Student Alliance at UVA has been working toward social justice on campus since 1969. For more info on their efforts, and to make a donation, click here.
Peaceful marches, demonstrations, and gatherings will continue to be organized in the coming days as a show of solidarity with the people of Charlottesville. The best way to get in tune with events in your area is to utilize Facebook and Twitter. Local activism groups will generally share an event page or tweet out a location. If you don't see an event being organized in your area, why not start one of your own? For tips on organizing, check out Ana Breton's recent Teen Vogue piece on how to plan a march or rally.
Refute Nazi bullshit when you see it.
Don't just rely on groups like the SPLC to catalog hate crimes. Instead, you should also call out Nazi (and related) bullshit when you see it. This includes confronting friends and family members with facts. If you witness a potential hate crime, contact the authorities. Then, contact the SPLC and related groups to ensure the act is as widely reported as possible.
Demand your local lawmakers continue to condemn hate groups.
Though the idea of a politician doing anything even close to the right thing seems almost improbable post-Trump, that doesn't mean we should give up. Make sure your local lawmakers know where you and the rest of their constituents stand when it comes to giving hate groups a pass. Condemning these groups in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack is applaudable, but the condemnations must continue.