This Woman Escaped The Nazis & Wants The Alt-Right To Know She's Still Fighting
Throughout the country, counter protests have broken out in solidarity with those fighting hate, racism, and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville, VA. Although the original intention of a group of white nationalists and Klu Klux Klan members was reportedly to protest the removal of Confederate symbols like the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, those who gathered in Virginia over the weekend began chanting about "blood and soil," a Nazi rallying cry. And minorities are refusing to cower to their calls.
The "blood and soil" was used by German Nazis to refer to rural peasants who had a long line of German blood and tended the land, according to CNN. It instilled national pride within the agricultural class of Germans and was also used as a way to stereotype German Jews as other.
In New York, protesters took to the streets of Union Square, rallying against the violence in Charlottesville and condemning anti-Semitic and racist actions. One protester held a sign that read, "I escaped the Nazis once. You will not defeat me now." It's a powerful statement for those who had been forced to flea their homes in Nazi Germany during the war and who still have to face discriminatory thinking in America.
In Charlottesville, demonstrators marched in the city with tiki torches, U.S. and Confederate flags, and various "battle gear," ahead of a "Unite the Right" rally meant to take place Saturday night, according to The Washington Post.
On Saturday, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville when a man struck her with his car while she attended the protests against the white nationalist group. The car ran into a group of counter protesters walking down the street. The suspect of the fatal car crash, James Alex Fields Jr., is in custody and is currently being held without bail under a charge of second degree murder. He is now a part of a federal civil rights investigation. Fields has been called a "Nazi sympathizer" by his high school teacher, citing a research project he had done about Nazi military, according to The Washington Post.
Counter protesters continued to assemble throughout the weekend in a show up support for those targeted by hateful speech and behaviors. People also gathered outside of Trump Tower in New York to protest President Donald Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville. In his initial response, Trump condemned hatred and bigotry "on many sides" of the protests. He said, "We love our country, we love our God, we love our flag, we are proud of our country, we are proud of who we are. So, we want to get this situation straightened out in Charlottesville and we want to study it." However, he did not specifically call out the anti-Semitism, racism, and white nationalism violence that occured at the rally.