Exactly one month after the Unite the Right Rally that brought white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in conflict with counter-protestors, the counter-protestors are back on their feet and fighting back.
An event called “Cville Call to Action” featured a group of UVa students, faculty members, and Charlottesville activists gathering at the North Side of the Rotunda by the Jefferson statue this evening. Some climbed the statue, demanding its removal and covering it in black fabric.
Those present chanted that they wanted “justice now” or they would “shut it down.” Others held signs ranging from “No Fascists” and “Black Lives Matter,” to “TJ is a racist and a rapist.”
The group aimed to “recogniz[e] the students and community members who stood in opposition to the white supremacists on August 11th and support the student demands from the March to Reclaim Our Grounds,” according to the event Facebook page.
Protestors also noted that today marks not only one month since the alt right march in downtown Charlottesville but also the day that those arrested in Durham, NC for tearing down a confederate monument head to court.
UPDATE (9/13): UVa President Teresa Sullivan has issued a statement regarding last night’s protest to the university community. She announced that UVa has removed the black shroud placed over the Jefferson statue.
“I strongly disagree with the protestors’ decision to cover the Jefferson statue. I also recognize the rights of those present at the protest to express their emotions and opinions regarding the recent horrific events that occurred on our Grounds and in Charlottesville. Our community continues to heal, and we must remain respectful of one another if substantive progress can be made on addressing the many challenges and opportunities that we all face,” she said.
“The University’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, made many contributions to the progress of the early American Republic: he served as the third President of the United States, championed religious freedom, and authored the Declaration of Independence. In apparent contradiction to his persuasive arguments for liberty and human rights, however, he was also a slave owner. In its early days the University of Virginia was dependent upon the institution of slavery. Enslaved people not only built its buildings, but also served in a wide variety of capacities for UVA’s first fifty years of existence. After gaining freedom, African Americans continued to work for the University, but they were not allowed to enroll as students until the mid-twentieth century…The University has acknowledged its controversial history and we continue to learn from it through open dialogue and civil discourse.”
Sullivan continued to discuss several measures that address race relations here at UVa.
“There is more work to be done, and I look forward to members of our community coming together and recommitting to our foundational values of honor, integrity, trust and respect,” she concluded.