You might feel helpless right now, but you don’t have to. You can make a difference.
The “Unite the Right” rally descended on Charlottesville, Virginia to spread their message of hate, racism and anti-Semitism. A counter-protest was held. A driver drove into a crowd and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured at least 19 others. Solidarity protests and vigils have been taking place all over the United States, and several have begun popping up all over Canada, as well.
You might be asking yourself what you can do to help from Canada. Here’s a brief guide on what you can do to help support our American neighbours, and fight Neo-Nazism in our own communities.
1. Give Money
You can donate to the victims of Charlottesville. A GoFundMe has been set up for Dre Harris, who was assaulted by white supremacists. A victim of the car crash, Natalie Romero, does not have health insurance and “has sustained skull fractures among other injuries”, according to the GoFundMe in her name. You can donate to her medical fund here.You can also donate to the C-ville Victim Relief Fund, administered by a group of Charlottesville community members that are looking to support the victims of the terrorist attack.
You can choose to donate to the groups that are working to eradicate white supremacy. The Stop Hate Project provides resources to organizations that are working to shut down hate in their communities and accepts donations here. You can donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center, that keeps a close watch on hate groups (called “Hatewatch”) that they regularly update as new “radical right” groups and events pop up.
But if you’re looking to make a difference locally, please consider donating to the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matters or to Reconciliation Canada, which regularly works to highlight White Supremacy in our own country. You can also donate to the National Council of Canadian Muslims, which fights Islamophobia. Please also consider giving locally to local synagogues, mosques or LGBTQ2+ groups to support the marginalized in your community and show your support.
2. Give Time
We are not immune to White Supremacy and hate groups in Canada, and donating your time to counter protest or attend a vigil is important in showing hate groups in our midst that their hate is not valid.
There have already been vigils in Windsor, St. John’s, Toronto, Calgary and many other cities across Canada, but there are still some anti-fascists rallies that will be taking place soon. There is an Anti-Fascist vigil planned for Waterloo and an Anti-White Supremacy Vigil in Barrie. You can attend the Anti-racism protest taking place in front of the American embassy in Ottawa on August 22nd.
There are also counter-protests that are planned in response to White Supremacy and Fascist rallies planned. Vancouver’s Stand Up to Racism is planning a counter-protest for Saturday. London is planning an Anti-Hate rally in response to a Pegida Canada march, and Toronto’s answer to the Toronto Nationalist Party’s rally will be the Unite Rally to Silence White Supremacy. The best way to find marches happening in your area is to use Facebook and Twitter, as local organizations will often share their events. When you find one, share it with Women’s March Canada, so that we can also share with our followers. If you can’t find one in your town or city, you can also organize one and invite your friends and family to join together to show your solidarity against White Supremacy.
3. Stand Against Hate
Call your local MP, MPP or MLA and ask them to denounce local hate groups. Call on our party leaders to speak out against White Supremacist views and groups. Write a letter to your local newspaper denouncing the actions in Charlottesville and calling on your city or town to be a haven to all. Speak to your relatives and friends about the hate that drove the Unite the Right rally and why it is abhorrent. Share the VICE documentary, “Charlottesville: Race and Terror”, with everybody that you know so that they can see what hate looks like in action. Speak out against White Supremacy wherever you see it, even when it makes you uncomfortable (especially when it makes you uncomfortable). Choose a Call to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Act and pledge to see it through.
4. Show Up
Sit down with the people in your life being marginalized. Listen to them. Absorb their stories and understand their needs. Ask them what they need you to do. Then show up for them.
Never stop showing up for them.