White Supremacists Have Been Allowed to Spread Their Hate for Too Long

Albany, NY – In response to violent protests by white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA, Jess Wisneski Deputy Director of Citizen Action of New York, said:

The system that punishes people of color for speaking up and stands passively as white supremacists and hate groups spread their vitriol, has led to more than 20 people in Virginia being injured, and at least three dead. Our hearts go out to their families.

There is no mystery as to who is behind the violence. White supremacists and neo nazi groups instigated these conflicts. But as we condemn them, we must not forget how they become empowered.

They get their power from elected leaders who refuse to speak up because they’re afraid of rankling their racist base, other electeds who give passive rebukes for bad behavior, and a police force that comes ready for war against peaceful protestors of color but are nowhere to be found when the Richard Spencers of the world surface.

Today’s violence and subsequent deaths are not an isolated event. They happened because many of our leaders, not just Donald Trump, have preferred to benefit from racism than to do anything about it. Empty statements and notes of condemnation just aren’t enough anymore.

It’s well past time for all our elected leaders to challenge racism directly, whether it shows up as racist violence like today in Charlottesville, or in its milder forms like the verbal attacks earlier this week on Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins.

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