Dear comrades, dear communities,
Last weekend the largest gathering of white supremacists the U.S. has seen in a generation assembled in Charlottesville to “Unite the Right.” From the White House to the streets, white supremacists are proliferating hate through harassment, violence, and even terrorism. Three people, including counter-protester Heather Heyer, lost their lives over the weekend. Dozens more were injured. The message is clear: public space does not belong to the public. But Hollaback! will continue to fight for everyone’s right to be safe in public spaces. And everyone means all of us: people of all races, genders, and religions; with and without disabilities; of any immigration status; of any appearance or identity.
We at Hollaback! are a group of people with multiple backgrounds and identities, and over the past few days each of us has been affected differently by the racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic violence unfolding in Charlottesville, Boston, and across the United States. While we all agreed that this moment merited a prompt organizational response, we decided it was necessary to take some time to check in with each other, listen to each other, and think about how to speak with one voice about this weekend’s events.
Just as our experiences and responses within the office differed, the communities we work with have been affected in different ways due to the country’s long history of structural and interpersonal violence, oppression, subjugation, colonization, and enslavement of many populations. Whether you’re feeling threatened, tired, or shocked; whether you’re grieving, organizing, or comforting others, we’ve got your back. As white social justice advocates, we’re here to urge white folks to recognize the ways their white privilege shows up inside themselves and actively commit to fight back against racism in their day-to-day lives. As social justice advocates of color and of different creeds, we’re here to mobilize our own communities and show up for each other when ours is not the group under the greatest attack. We’re here to declare and validate that you belong, and you have the right to be safe, in public space.
In this moment, this month, this millennium, we need to show up for each other in whatever way is right for us. With the rising frequency and severity of hate-based harassment – whether it’s ableist, Islamophobic, racist, transphobic, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, homophobic, or xenophobic – make sure you carefully consider safety risks as you decide how to take action.
We have resources to offer up to you from our own work:
- Learn how to intervene safely and effectively when you witness incidents of hate and harassment through our bystander intervention webinars, free through the end of the month with the code hollabacksummer.
- Break bread and find community with The People’s Supper and check out their specialized guidebook [PDF], made in the wake of Charlottesville, to come together after traumatic violence.
- Share your story of harassment or bystander intervention on our website or through our app.
And beyond Hollaback!, here are some more ideas for how to show up:
- Today: Show up for immigrants by joining a Defend DACA/TPS rally or calling your representatives.
- Find and attend a local Charlottesville solidarity rally or donate to support the community.
- Take a look at the UVA Graduate Student Coalition for Liberation’s Charlottesville Syllabus and check the hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum to learn about the town’s history of racism and struggle.
- Use SPLC’s Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Guide.
- Take a break, take a breath, and take care of yourself. This struggle is not about a single moment, and we need to be in it for the long haul – so pace yourself.
Hollaback! stands with you. We love you, and we’re ready to have your back.
Agunda, Debjani, Emily, Halsey, Leah, Patrick, and Tamar