Johnson County leaders speak out against Charlottesville rally

Johnson County takes a stance on the Charlottesville rally

On+Saturday%2C+Aug.+12%2C+2017%2C+white+supremacist+groups+clashed+with+hundreds+of+counter-protesters+during+the+%26quot%3BUnite+The+Right%26quot%3B+rally+in+Charlottesville%2C+Va.+Dozens+were+injured+in+skirmishes+and+many+others+after+a+white+nationalist+plowed+his+sports+car+into+a+throng+of+protesters.+One+counter-protester+died+after+being+struck+by+the+vehicle.+The+driver+of+the+car+was+caught+fleeing+the+scene+and+the+governor+of+Virginia+issued+a+state+of+emergency.+%28Michael+Nigro%2FPacific+Press%2FZuma+Press%2FTNS%29

TNS

On Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, white supremacist groups clashed with hundreds of counter-protesters during the "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va. Dozens were injured in skirmishes and many others after a white nationalist plowed his sports car into a throng of protesters. One counter-protester died after being struck by the vehicle. The driver of the car was caught fleeing the scene and the governor of Virginia issued a state of emergency. (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/Zuma Press/TNS)

In the aftermath of the “Unite the Right” rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, local Johnson County leaders have spoken out and responded for the members of their communities.

The right-wing rally was intended to oppose the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville. The incident has sparked controversy across the nation, as some participants were white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis.

Following the events, Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton released a statement Aug. 18.

“On behalf of the people of Iowa City, I say we reject neo-Nazis who seek to intimidate others and promulgate their hate-filled ideology,” read the statement. “Their white supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist beliefs, and actions are completely antithetical to our belief in the value of living in a diverse and inclusive community.”

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Aug. 17 supporting the people of Charlottesville and those groups who continue to feel oppressed by the rally’s message.

Supervisor Vice Chairman Mike Carberry said the resolution was passed because President Trump waited two days to make a statement on the events and then said what Carberry called “the wrong thing” by blaming all sides of the argument.

“This is the fourth resolution [the supervisors] have passed related to the thoughts, words, and behaviors of the president,” he said.

Carberry said the resolution isn’t an official document that could hold up in court, but it acts as a stance in solidarity with the victims of the rally and minority groups who may still feel threatened.

The statue the rally wanted to protect, Carberry said, does not belong as a celebratory monument but in museums. Germany does not have statues set up in their cities to honor Hitler and the Nazis, he said, but have them in museums and history books, which is where conversation about the Confederacy belongs.

County Supervisor Rod Sullivan said one of today’s harsh realities include members of society hating and hurting others. Many of these individuals, he said, are loud and can be magnified by the media. By passing the resolution, he said, the supervisors send a message to those who feel helpless and afraid that Johnson County stands with them in solidarity.

“If we keep spreading this message [of support], when the few bad apples get out, their message will have less impact,” he said.

On Aug. 17, UI President Bruce Harreld released a statement also spreading the message of inclusiveness for all in the community.

“It is incumbent upon us to reach out to those who are new to our community,” he said. “To tell them we denounce the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazi groups who use public universities as a backdrop for their violent theater. To assure them that we will not be bullied into silence or turned against one another. To pledge once again that we will not tolerate anything but a safe and inclusive campus for people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or country of origin.”

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