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What U.Va. Students Saw in Charlottesville

Even after the crowds were dispersed and the governor declared a state of emergency, there were reports that neo-Nazis were headed to black, low-income neighborhoods around Charlottesville.

The intention of this “alt-right” rally was clear, and it had nothing to do with a statue. It was about intimidation. We need to call this violence — which culminated with the death of a 32-year-old woman — by it’s name: domestic terrorism.

Aryn A. Frazier

Politics and African-American and African Studies, ’17

On Friday night, I was locked in a church full of people, who were singing loudly to overpower the hate-filled chants of alt-right protesters carrying torches right outside the chapel doors.

Photo

White supremacists marched at the University of Virginia on Friday night.

Credit
Edu Bayer for The New York Times

Still, I got up early on Saturday morning. Some friends and I had promised to be in downtown Charlottesville by 7 a.m. to help set up the counter-protest camp. We ate some fast food, moved tables, wrote the phone numbers of legal aid agencies on our arms in surgical marker in case we were arrested, and hung up “Black Lives Matter” signs. There were helicopters hovering overhead.

We left the park to go meet other student protesters, and walked by several alt-right groups, but we exchanged no words.

However, once we got to Emancipation Park, I found myself being talked at by a man wearing a red shirt. Red Shirt told me that Africa was for the black man, and America was for the white man. He seemed to have forgotten the brown men who were here long before either of our ancestors. He told a white woman, who was holding a sign promoting peace, that she was a race traitor, and despite her wide hips, he’d be willing to show her what a real man was all about. He spouted racist theories about the testosterone levels of black women and the difference in brain…

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