Official statements on violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP/WAVY) – Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement regarding the emergency declaration he authorized Saturday morning following the violent white nationalist protests:

At 11:28 a.m., the Virginia State Police contacted me to request a state of emergency and I immediately authorized the declaration. We have maintained close contact with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other state and local officials on the ground in Charlottesville, and I agree that the situation in Charlottesville warrants an emergency declaration by me, in order to aid City and County law enforcement in their efforts to restore public safety and order in the City of Charlottesville and the surrounding area. In the days and weeks leading up to this event, my Administration engaged in extensive planning and preparation to ensure that the rally in Charlottesville could be held in a safe and lawful environment. These preparations included the deployment of a large number of state troopers, as well as the Virginia National Guard for support.

It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property. I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours. The actions I have taken are intended to assist local government and restore public safety.

My entire team will continue to monitor this situation throughout the day, and take appropriate action as necessary.

President Donald Trump is tweeting about the violence that has erupted amid a white supremacist march in Virginia.

The demonstrations began Friday in Charlottesville with white nationalists marching through town and while carrying lit torches. The demonstrators then clashed with counter-protesters.

Some of the white nationalists cited Trump’s victory as validation for their beliefs.

FLOTUS also tweeted out:

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner tweeted the following:

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has said the following statement on Twitter:

Representatives Scott Taylor and Bobby Scott released these statements on Twitter:

Williamsburg Mayor Paul Freiling released the following letter to the city residents:

Dear fellow citizens of Williamsburg,

It is with great reluctance that I or my Council colleagues ever try to speak for others, but in light of recent events in a sister city of the Commonwealth, we felt it appropriate to express our concerns and reaffirm solidarity against the ugliness of hatred and to decry senseless violence on behalf of all Williamsburg. The following is a message sent earlier this evening to the Mayor of Charlottesville. You all may well be reading it before he, especially considering the immense challenges facing that community right now. Please know, that these reprehensible and horrific events could just as easily have occurred here. If you join us in moral recoil, then let us band together to be part of the solution to build bridges instead of fences; to love over hate; to seek peaceful discourse over violence; and to embrace all that is beautiful about the diversity of humanity.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper made this statement on his Facebook page:

James City County government tweeted the following statement:

Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie released the following statement:

“Having a right to spew vile hate does not make it right. It is painful to see these ugly events in Charlottesville last night and today. These displays have no place in our Commonwealth, and the mentality on display is rejected by the decent, thoughtful and compassionate fellow Virginians I see every day. I know we all appreciate the law enforcement officials maintaining order and protecting public safety there.”

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam released the following statement:

“The cornerstone of what makes our commonwealth a wonderful place to live is all that we share in common, not the things that set us apart. The community of Charlottesville has been asked twice now in recent months to defend our values of openness, diversity, and inclusion against an ideology of hatred and bigotry — no community should have to bear that burden in 2017.”

“White supremacists have descended upon Charlottesville again to evoke a reaction as ugly and violent as their beliefs — just as they did before, I am urging Virginians to deny them the satisfaction.”

Virginia GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate Jill Vogel released the following statement:

“I am horrified by the hate being displayed in Charlottesville. It is not the Virginia that I know and love and I condemn this vile display of racism.”

ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga:

“The ACLU of Virginia stands firmly for the right to freedom of expression for everyone. We stand just as firmly in opposition to violence, racism and hatred of any kind. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the willful, malicious, dangerous and unlawful acts that occurred Friday evening in Charlottesville and on the University of Virginia campus. We urge anyone participating in demonstrations or protests of any kind today to do so in a spirit of peaceful, productive discourse. There is no place in a civil society for violent conflict, and we oppose such acts of aggression no matter the source.”

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement:

“Racism, hatred and discrimination and deadly violence  must not be tolerated in Virginia and will not be acceptable by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Our forefathers and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. died to fight against such violence and our civil rights.  We must unite and stand for equality for all against white supremacy in our country.”

Old Dominion University sent the following email to students, faculty and staff:

Dear Monarch Community:

As I shared on social media last night, our thoughts are with the families of the Charlottesville victims.

At Old Dominion University, we denounce hate-filled speech that promotes bigotry, racism and violence and are proud of our history of inclusion. We value our richly diverse community and will continue to foster a campus climate of open dialogue and respect.

In two weeks, as we welcome Monarchs back to school, the President’s Taskforce on Inclusive Excellence and the 1ODU student advisory group will host an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to come together and discuss the Charlotesville events.

Together, all of us at ODU stand strong against acts of hatred, which have no place in our society.

The president of Tidewater Community College released a statement to the school’s community, which reads:

In the aftermath of Charlottesville violence

Turn to each other, not on each other

Message from President Kolovani on Aug. 14, 2017

Dear TCC Community:

As you know, I grew up in Germany and became a citizen in 1982. As a naturalized American, I believe this country is strongest when it embraces ideals of peace, strength and opportunity.

Those ideals were not on display in Charlottesville this weekend.

What I saw disturbs and outrages me. I echo the strong and unequivocal sentiments of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. John McCain and others: This country – the country that welcomed me as a stranger – has no room for ideology that promotes hatred based on race, gender, faith, or country of origin. It saddens me beyond words that lives were lost Saturday. When that hatred turns to violence, as it did in Charlottesville, we are all diminished.

That said, I fully expect that we have in our community those who subscribe to some form of these ideologies. Many colleges are seen as trying to suppress speech that seeks to express those views. Having lived in a country that, in its darkest days, turned to fascism to blot out dissent and difference, I believe our job is to encourage free expression.

Here’s the difference.

Rather than turn on each other, I encourage you to turn to each other. I expect us to talk with one another with respect and civility, so that we may arrive at peaceful solutions to improve the lives of others.

This country – the country that welcomed me as a stranger – has no room for ideology that promotes hatred based on race, gender, faith, or country of origin.

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and several of its partner organizations earlier this year prepared a list of “Ten Things You Can Do to Stand Together.” Here is an adapted version of those actions in light of this weekend’s tragic events:

  1. Speak up and challenge bigotry whenever you see it.
  2. Talk with a neighbor or someone you don’t know about why diversity and inclusion are important to all of us.
  3. Analyze the diversity within your neighborhood, workplace, local school, or house of worship and initiate conversations about where and why there might be a lack of inclusion.
  4. Read books that help you to learn about the experiences and perspectives of people from different backgrounds – especially those whose voices are often left out of community conversations.
  5. Learn about our community’s complex history – including the difficult parts – and consider the residue of that history on the present day.
  6. Write a letter to the editor expressing why you value diversity, equity, and inclusion in your community.
  7. Contact your elected officials to make sure they know your views, especially about policies that could disproportionately hurt members of marginalized groups.
  8. Attend community events that expand your understanding and perspective.
  9. Volunteer with organizations that focus on making our communities more equitable and inclusive.
  10. Donate to organizations and causes that promote respect, understanding, and justice

This is the moment for positive, vigorous action. To that end, I have invited VCIC, an organization that we have worked with for many years, to develop one or two targeted forums for staff and faculty. Together, we can prove with one voice and with sustained effort that there is no place for hate in Virginia.

Hampton University President William R. Harvey also released the following statement:

Dear Hampton University Family,

The profound negativity expressed in words, actions and deeds over the last few days in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia cannot go unnoticed. They are a very strong and hurtful reminder of the extreme prejudice and racism that still exist in our nation and proof that America is not the “post-racial society” that most of us hoped to achieve.

As President of Hampton University, an institution founded in Virginia to serve newly freed slaves and Native Americans whose lives were thought by many to be worth less than the white citizens of our nation, it is imperative in times like these that I remind the Hampton University Family and all of its constituents that our institution has always been opposed to the concepts of racial inequality and racism. Our founder, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, wrote in 1890 that he hoped there would “be enough friends to see that the work continues; unless someone makes sacrifices for it, it cannot go on.” Now celebrating our 150th year of existence, Hampton University is still committed to continuing the work of our founder and challenging racism on every front. This is the very foundation upon which we were established.

I encourage every member of the Hampton University Family to not allow the incidents which occurred over the weekend to go without notice or response. Recognize that even in today’s society, centuries after the Emancipation Proclamation, the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and decades after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the concepts of racial inequality and racism are still being taught, promoted and advanced. As Hamptonians, we must take a peaceful stance against any and all incidents of racial injustice and racism, as well as do everything within our power to eradicate the hate upon which these concepts are founded.

The Hampton Nation offers our support and sympathy to those who lost their lives or were injured during these incidents. We hope that their commitment to combatting racism will long be remembered and have a positive impact on others.

With all good wishes,
William R. Harvey

William & Mary President Taylor Reveley sent the following message to the campus community on Aug. 23:

Dear Campus Community,

On Saturday, August 12th, early in the course of events in Charlottesville and their aftermath, I put the following statement on William & Mary’s website and released it to the media:  “The images and reports from Charlottesville this weekend have been deeply disturbing and tragic for our Commonwealth. Freedom of thought and expression are central to a functioning democracy.  Violence and hate are not.  Bigotry has no place in our communities or on our campuses.  The University of Virginia is very much in the thoughts of those of us at William & Mary.”

It is now important, I believe, to say more.

I was born in the middle of a vast world war in which the USA fought to crush Nazi, fascist and ultra-nationalist movements.   I grew up during the years when the United States Supreme Court and Congress took steps that ended Jim Crow as a matter of law and, in good part, as a matter of practice.  Against this background, it seemed that a Nazi presence in this country, along with KKK, white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies, though extant in dark corners, had been consigned to the lunatic fringe of American society.  So it was chilling to see, in mid-August 2017, a neo-Nazi, KKK, and ultra-nationalist force massed in Charlottesville and at the University of Virginia, leading to a weekend of violence and three deaths.  This was pure evil.  White supremacy, anti-Semitism, and “blood and soil” nationalism must not and do not define us as a society.  They most surely have no place as a matter of ideology or practice on our campuses.

Many personal and professional ties unite William & Mary and the University of Virginia.  Among them is a shared commitment to serving, welcoming and valuing all members of our communities, celebrating our diversity and learning daily from the experiences of one another. There is a saying on our campus that “those who come to William & Mary belong at William & Mary.”  This is what we want, it is what we believe, and it is what we work to make a reality for each and every one of us.

W&M and UVa also share a commitment to the safety of our communities.  Lessons learned in Charlottesville will help us ensure that we have policies and practices in place to safeguard our campus were Williamsburg and William & Mary ever thrust into the eye of the storm.  We are prepared.  The safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors is transcendently important.

Even as we abhor the sort of hate and violence that blighted Charlottesville, we remember our commitment to the free play of ideas guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. It is important to reconfirm this commitment following violent events that directly challenge it.  We must be willing to accept the expression even of ideas with which we emphatically disagree, so long as they are expressed non-violently, in accordance with law, and in ways compatible with public safety.  The First Amendment contemplates as well that free speech is the crucial means by which we respond to, and refute, ideas with which we profoundly disagree.

The unifying aspects of our diversity are strongest when accompanied by a willingness to engage ideas and ways of life different from our own and to evolve in our thinking if persuaded to do so by sound facts and compelling arguments.  Americans come from a great variety of nations and belong to many racial and ethnic groups.  We have an enormous range of religious, cultural and political views.   To keep our nation a productive whole, we need to celebrate this diversity and give it robust life by meaningfully engaging the differences that enrich our communities.  This is the sort of diversity we have and want at William & Mary.

On Friday we will welcome to campus the Class of 2021 and new transfer students.  The coming academic year has historic significance in William & Mary’s long life.  At Opening Convocation on August 30th, we will begin commemorating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first three African American students to live in campus residence halls and have full access to William & Mary’s facilities and offerings.  Let’s make the coming year one of heightened unity and strong accomplishment.

My best wishes to each of you as we embark on 2017/18.

Taylor Reveley