NAACP will ‘uphold the democratic process’

Published 7:24 pm Saturday, September 9, 2017

By D.K. Seneca Bock

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the membership of the Nansemond-Suffolk Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, I want to respond to the recent debacle that took place in Charlottesville.

It is with a heavy heart that I even have to write such a letter in 2017. However, it is necessary that I offer this forthright statement demonstrating NAACP’s persistent and continued commitment to stand against racial hatred, bigotry, anti-Semitism and homegrown terrorism.

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Regrettably, Aug. 12, 2017, will go down in infamy as a time when Charlottesville played host to a racially charged public display of racial hatred, Nazism and anti-Semitism, despite the fact that Gov. Terry McAuliffe had admonished the alt-right not to bring their hate to Virginia.

This mob-like scene was coordinated, organized and promulgated by white supremacists who claimed to be there only to rally against plans for the city to remove one of the nation’s Civil War monuments.

As the oldest civil rights organization in the world, we believe in and support the fundamental constitutional rights of all Americans, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. And some of our members even believe it is OK to have monuments that depict historical realities.

For example one of our members wrote: “Regarding the Charlottesville situation, the monuments are appearing to have a special meaning to a segment of our population, therefore considering all of us without punishing any of us, I believe we can settle by housing the confederate monument s in a museum dedicated to the era highlighted. It is disturbing to me when entering a government building or any public place to be confronted with a piece of history that denigrates my ancestors. If not a museum, someplace else where (the dead are) honored, i.e the graveyard.”

If, in fact, it was to be a peaceful march, why did those of the so-called alt-right feel the need to bring assault weapons, brass knuckles, various knives and blades? Why the need to spew and hurl vile and disgusting racial epithets, anti-Semitic hate speech and white-supremacist rhetoric at onlookers, counter-protestors, the media and the residents of the lovely town of Charlottesville?

And why serve as an incendiary enabling agent to help further ignite the flames of violence and hatred amongst its very own members?

These acts were despicable and cannot be tolerated. There is no in which to draw or tolerate a false equivalency, either. We simply are not going to accept such a weak, ill-conceived narrative.

The members of the NAACP have been at the forefront of protecting freedoms for all people, and we will continue to do so in this instance.

Further, we would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of Heather Heyer, who lost her life standing up for social justice. We acknowledge Deandre Harris from Suffolk, who was savagely beaten by white supremacists. Additionally, we are saddened by the senseless deaths of two Virginia State Troopers, Berke Bates, and H. Jay Cullen.

In our efforts to stand firmly against the sort barbarism perpetrated upon the body of America on that day, we are working collaboratively with the Virginia State Conference, all the branches in the Hampton Roads region and our national office.

We will use the civic square to facilitate the exchange of ideas in this United States of America and to uphold the democratic process.

By D.K. Seneca Bock is the president of the Nansemond-Suffolk Branch of the NAACP. Email her at