Statement on Charlottesville

In the spirit of all that the Coalition of Women in German stands for, we condemn the actions of white supremacists, including the recent violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia.  

Tragically, that violence is not limited to the vicious attack on De’Andre Harris and the murder of Heather Heyer. A newspaper headline in the last days read “Racism never died in Virginia,” but in truth, racism is not just isolated to one location, but indeed, remains very much alive throughout the United States. Charlottesville is but one bitter reminder of the ways that white supremacy persists. The threats against Jews, the uttering of Nazi slogans, and the display of Nazi symbols contribute to a climate in which it has become increasingly acceptable to publicly and violently target people of color and Jews.

As North American German Studies scholars, we are compelled to speak out against the threatening behavior and speech of neo-nazis, KKK, and white supremacists in the United States. As a feminist organization, we are committed to scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. We recognize that feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. We recognize that systems that promote and rely on racism; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred and exclusion are interlinked, and often support one another. We express our solidarity with all groups who stand against white supremacy and racism.

This is a painful, traumatic time for us, for members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by racist violence. This has not been the first or the last of such episodes. Cognizant of the inadequacy of words alone in the expression of solidarity and support, we call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacy wherever it is manifest, whether in the overt and obvious racisms that took place in Charlottesville or in the everyday.

As allies, we ask you to consider these pledges:

I pledge to do the work. I will put my body on the line during protests if able. I will use my voice to speak against white supremacy, and I will act.

I will remind myself that allyship is a process. I will make mistakes but I will apologize, educate myself and not make them again. I will not let my emotions get in the way of my fight against white supremacy. There is too much at stake.

I will check on people who are impacted by this event more than me, and I will not allow myself to be celebrated for doing something that should be common sense.