Reacting to the deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, Oak Ridge faith leaders on Monday condemned white supremacy, racism, anti-semitism, and other forms of hatred, and they asked the Oak Ridge City Council to adopt a resolution expressing similar sentiments.
The statement of condemnation of hatred and racism was read by Derrick Hammond, pastor of Oak Valley Baptist Church, during a Monday evening meeting of the Oak Ridge City Council as 14 other clergy members stood by him in support.
It came two days after a 32-year-old Virginia woman was killed and 19 other people were injured after a car plowed into counter-protesters on the day of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. About two hours after the car crash, two Virginia state troopers who both have East Tennessee ties were killed when their police helicopter crashed and burned; the helicopter had been involved in providing surveillance and information during the day, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported.
“This past weekend, a 32-year-old young lady by the name of Heather Heyer lost her life, and many others were seriously injured at a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia,” the Oak Ridge faith leaders said in their statement delivered to City Council on Monday. “The white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and other ‘alt-right’ hate groups were gathered in order to ‘take America back.’
“While the kind of hate, bigotry, and white supremacist ideology that we witnessed in Charlottesville is not new to America, this racist minority movement has been emboldened by what they perceive as support for their un-American world view. Their rhetoric and actions threaten the historic progress our ancestors, from many faiths and ethnic backgrounds, have made toward equality for all. It is now our responsibility and privilege to celebrate the rich diversity of our nation and continue their work. [Read more…]