Statement on Charlottesville Terror Attack (with crisis resources)

trigger warning: non-graphic discussion of violence, injury, death, terror attack

This Saturday, protesters gathered for a counter-demonstration against the white nationalist “alt-right” in Charlottesville. Solidarity events were held in Staunton and elsewhere for those unable to attend.

The Charlottesville events converged in a march in the afternoon, with protesters chanting and carrying signs. The mood was exuberant, defiant, even jubilant as hundreds joined together to support racial justice and equality in the face of hatred.

That mood changed to terror when a car rammed into protesters in a hit-and-run that left many injured. The injured were transported to the hospital and police took statements from witnesses. Tragically, one person was murdered in the attack. One of our coordinators was on the scene but was not seriously injured.

Today, we witnessed a terrorist attack that shows the lengths some will go to in the name of hatred and white supremacy. We also witnessed a huge police presence with riot tanks and cops arriving before ambulances and medics. That caused an even greater sense of panic on the streets, the response too focused on force at first and not aid.

However, we also saw the strength of the bystanders, street medics, emergency personnel, those who shouted warnings, and everyone who helped the victims. We saw the power of hundreds of people uniting against hatred, putting their own safety on the line.

We are powerful when we stand together. That power scares these white supremacist terrorists. They want to frighten us — silence us with violence. If you’re scared right now, we are too. But we won’t stop fighting.

In the wake of this, we ask that you:

  • Not share photos of the victims or articles containing those photos
  • If you share articles with images of blood, violence, etc. please add a content note as this can be triggering to trauma survivors
  • Reach out to your support systems — family, friends, etc. — if you’re feeling scared or helpless
  • If you are privileged, reach out to your minority friends to check in and let them know you’ve got their backs
  • If you witnessed the attack, please contact the authorities to give a statement
  • Crisis hotline if you need it: 1-800-273-8255 or 775-784-8090

SAW Action Movement will be holding a vigil for the victims at Men’s Green Thumb Park from 6 – 8 PM.

Black background with grey and white text reading "Resist Together" in all capital letters.

Public Meeting Notes

This past week, Indivisible Staunton held one of our monthly public meetings at Staunton Public Library. We’d like to tell you what we talked about and some of the ideas we came up with. 

Attendance & Upcoming Events

Our group was small, but invested. We also had a couple of people drop in to see what the meeting was about. Someone brought up the idea of protest fatigue — that feeling that no matter what, nothing seems to change. We talked about disillusionment in our leaders and politics in general, as well as how to move forward with the big picture in mind while battling burnout.  

If you’re feeling burned out by politics and activism, here’s an event that might help:

If you have a difficult schedule and can’t make it out to all the protests, rallies, or talks you would like, here are a few recurring events you can mark on your calendar:

  • Open Door Meetings with Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s staff: every 3rd Tuesday of the month from 11:30 – 1:00 at Waynesboro Public Library.
  • Moral Mondays: every Monday evening from 6 – 7 at Men’s Green Thumb Park, organized by SAW Action Movement.
  • Local and Vocal meetings: every third Saturday; times TBD, where guest speakers lecture and workshop on issues such as racism, poverty, improving our environment, and more. 

Phone Trees, Email Lists, and Communication

We also talked about communication. One of our coordinators, Rowan, spoke to the need for an “emergency response” list — a group of people who could be contacted and organized quickly to hold a counter-protest should something happen. 

People liked the idea of a text tree for reminders about events. While the email subscriptions were great, they said, they often don’t check their email all the time — while a text reminder about an event would reach them more quickly. We would definitely like to build a text tree! If you’d like your number added, please email it to us at indivisiblestaunton@gmail.com. 

Voter Registration

This was the coordinators’ big focus, as we have been mapping out areas to canvas for voter registration. The deadline to register for the primaries has passed, but we still need to register people for the general election. Canvassing for voter registration is also about reminding people to vote. As a volunteer for Michele Edwards’s campaign pointed out, it’s also a great opportunity to ask people what they’ve heard about the candidates. 

We are planning a voter registration training event soon. We need volunteers to hit the streets! The state requires voter registration certification, but you can register up to 25 people without the formal training. However, the training video is so short — just 15 minutes — that we decided to hold a viewing and training event where everyone can watch it at once. Details on time, date, and location TBD.

What is our response to the healthcare crisis?

This is the question the coordinators had for the group: where do we go from here? After some brainstorming, we decided that a flash mob “die in” protest would make a striking statement. 

We also want to do an office relay at Bob Goodlatte’s Staunton office. Inspired by someone who came to the Open Door Meeting with his letters to Goodlatte about healthcare in pill bottle, we’d like to do a “Message in a Pill Bottle” event. Our next step will be drumming up support for this so that we can get enough people to keep the office busy for most of the day. 

These events are still in the planning stages, but expect more details soon. Thank you to everyone who came and shared your wonderful thoughts on how to #resist. If you were not able to attend this public meeting but have some ideas to share, please leave a comment with your thoughts!