Why Charlottesville Matters: Resisting Hate and Bigotry Throughout Our World

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I enjoy camping throughout the United States. Outside of the members of my family, I am often the only African-American camping at these campsites throughout the nation. My neighbors are often white Americans, and based on our conversations, many of them are Republications. There is a certain respect and comradery among people who dare to brave the wilderness with their families every other weekend. Fortunately, neither I nor members of my family have been overtly subjected to raciest epithets including the N-Word. In these interracial, if not multicultural atmospheres, one can easily come to the conclusion that hate, racism and bigotry are learned concepts that  people decide  to practice or not to practice. There concepts, which in my opinion reflect the worst of human nature, are not limited to a particular ethnic group, racial group, political affiliation or economic class. When people who embraced these demeaning and deplorable concepts decided to host the American Renaissance Conference  at Montgomery Bell State Park, which is one of my favorite campsites in Nashville, Tennessee on  July 28m 2017 , and I glad a group of counter-protesters stood against their messages of hatred and bigotry on the same day.  I remember on person recently saying to me: “Jason, maybe you shouldn’t camp at one of your favorite campsites anymore if it is going to be an annual site for racists.” I then said: “Thank you for your concerns; however, I will not let racists claim the state park or deter me from embracing my camping community. We must resist racism and bigotry where we find it.”

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, people protested against racism and bigotry as it existed in Emancipation Park, which was formerly known as Lee Park after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, in Charlottesville Virginia. Fascists, members of the Alt-right, Neo-Nazis, the KKK and  several other groups determined to spread a message of hate were confronted  by people of different races, ethnic groups and economic stations and educational backgrounds who were more determined to spread a message of love, toleration and cooperation. Many democrats and republicans condemned the deportable actions of these who organized the Unite the Right event. I applaud those who organized the counter-protest because they recognized that silence means agreement. I applaud those who embodied the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I admire those who sought to embrace the teaching s of Jesus who said that we should try to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31) and love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). If we are to truly form a more perfect union, it is we who must confront and resist hate and bigotry where it may be found.

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