While protesting at Charlottesville, Heather Heyer died after a car slammed into a group of people protesting against racism and hate. The aftermath of this death has been pivotal in many ways. Heather is a martyr and what she did was brave, remarkable and powerful. Her Facebook header was an image that said, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”. Her death was not in vain.
Since those events at Charlottesville, Virginia the world has been quickly taking down Confederate statues and symbols all over the United States. Baltimore, Maryland alone removed four statues overall due thanks to a black woman, Catherine Pugh, mayor of Baltimore. Brooklyn, New York took down two plaques honoring Robert E.Lee. In Durham, North Caroline protesters couldn’t wait and pulled down a Confederate statue by themselves. In Gainesville, Florida, a monument to confederate soilders was moved. New Orleans removed four monuments and many more states have been removing Confederate statues and monuments.
Why did it take so long? Why are people finally realizing that white supremacy is toxic?
Maybe it’s the realization that white supremacists are affecting more than just people of color at this time. Maybe it’s the fact that a white woman died at the hands of white supremacy that gave people the wake up call they needed. Not the fact that Muslims and other people of color have been facing oppression for years by white supremacist that includes violence.
Prior to this, white supremacist have been given non-stop media attention and exposure, it seemed that people were, in fact, normalizing it. Milo Yiannopoulos became a house hold name, Richard Spencer could be found doing talking engagements across schools nationwide and Infowars, a neo-nazi website, gained press access to the White House. Even mainstream news networks were racing to interview white supremacist not realizing just how dangerous this is. It seems like the nation made Nazis just a regular part of our lives and people were helpless to it.
White supremacists are more than hillbillies and the illiterate. What’s scary is white supremacists are teachers, professors, doctors and lawyers. After the Charlottesville protest, many of these Nazis were exposed and people were shocked to find out that they had actual professional careers. That’s the scariest part, and it justifies why many black people are afraid of police officers. Sadly, Heather’s death became the wake-up call to end white supremacy. What Heather stood for has inspired a nation to fight against white supremacy. It’s sad that it had to happen this way, but change often takes something big to happen.