• 64°

‘White civil rights’ rally can’t be permitted

This Aug. 11 and 12 will mark the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally that ravaged Charlottesville with more than 38 injuries and three deaths.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal from the city, was hit when a dirtbag drove his car into a crowd of counter protestors, and Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot M.M. Bates perished when their helicopter crashed seven miles from Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport as they tried to assist with security.

The same man who got the permit for last year’s disaster is now looking to start another in Washington, D.C.

According to a report by WUSA9, the National Park Service this week approved an application for a public demonstration described in the application as a “white civil rights rally.” An estimated 400 attendees will meet at a rally point, then march to Lafayette Park to give speeches, according to the application. The times for the demonstration are from 8 a.m. Aug. 11 to 8 p.m. Aug. 12.

The application was submitted by Jason Kessler, who organized last year’s “Unite the Right” rally to protest cities taking down Confederate statues. Kessler told WUSA9 on Tuesday that the purpose of this new demonstration is to talk about the civil rights abuse that happened in Charlottesville last year.

He also pointed his finger at the city and counter protestors for last year’s violence.

“It wasn’t the fault of my group that that stuff happened,” he told WUSA9.

Kessler is reportedly working with police and the National Park Service to try to keep things peaceful this year. He’s even planning to give out “rally rules” to participants, per WUSA9.

Rules for the same groups that gathered by the dozens to carry torches while marching through University of Virginia’s campus the evening of Aug. 11, shouting slogans like “white lives matter,” “you will not replace us” and more specifically, “Jews will not replace us.” Rules for the right-wing radicals that flooded Charlottesville’s streets on Aug. 12, some carrying weapons.

Tracye Redd with Black Lives Matter DC responded to Kessler in the WUSA9 report by drawing a line between squashing free speech and stopping hate speech.

“I keep telling people if your right to rally and your right to protest means that someone else’s life might be in danger, then it is no longer free speech but it is hate speech,” Redd told wusa9.com.

Kessler was quoted as saying that this year’s rally is not about opposition or attacks; that it’s about “standing up for our rights.” I don’t know Kessler’s motives, but I do know what will happen if this happens: white nationalists and extremists will flock to Washington, D.C., to participate, and they will spark another year of violence and hate in the streets.

I want to spread the word that this is in the works. Readers absolutely need to stand by their beliefs and opinions and should be able to share them. Understand what this means and act accordingly.

If you do not want this rally to happen, then make your concerns known and stay safe in the city if it’s permitted to go on.