We must not forget this tragedy

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

By Kenya Smith

On Saturday, white nationalist and alt-right groups from across America gathered in Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally as a response to the city’s decision to remove reminders of the Confederacy, such as the statue of Robert E. Lee.

Many of us were in shock when we saw photos and videos of a car plowing through a crowd of people during a confrontation between white supremacists and counterprotesters. A 32-year-old woman is dead, and 19 people were injured. Additionally, two police officers were killed when their helicopter crashed while monitoring the unfolding events.

Email newsletter signup

Many elected officials on both parties have expressed their outrage over the chaos in Charlottesville. Gov. Terry McAuliffe courageously made it clear that hatred has no place in Virginia and told the white nationalists to go home.

Incidents like the one in Charlottesville are not only blatant acts of racism and white supremacy; they are also acts of terrorism.

It is sickening that many of these white nationalist and alt-right groups claim to be Christian-based. They suggest that what they are doing promotes the cause of Jesus Christ. However, the Bible makes it clear in 1 John 4:20 that if anybody says, “I love God” but hates his brother, he is a liar.

Therefore, their worldview is weakening the key doctrine of Christianity that is stated in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Now is not the time to sit back and become “Que sera, sera” about white supremacy and other forms of bigotry. We should not have to wait until a similar tragedy happens to take action.

If we truly believe that love conquers hate, we must be willing to live lives that exemplify this belief. We also must be willing to stand up against racism and any form of bigotry such as xenophobia, homophobia, classism and sexism.

When such tragedies take place, we usually talk about them for a few days. But too many times, we go back to business as usual until another tragedy happens.

We must continue to come up with ways to combat bigotry in America. We must teach the next generations about race and how to respect and value people who are different. Talking about bigotry is one step, and doing something about it should come next.

We cannot allow the tragic deaths of three people to deter us from speaking out about racism. A good time to make a positive change in American history is right now.

Kenya Smith is a Suffolk native and graduate of Regent University. Email her at s.kenya43@yahoo.com.