Friday night, looking at my Facebook feed I was seeing a lot from friends about the white supremacists rally in nearby Charlottesville. And I had an really terrible foreboding feeling well up in my stomach. My gut said no, no one should go. I posted on Facebook kind of warning people, that was how strong the intuition was. I knew I wasn’t going to really stop anyone from going but I felt the urge to try.
Saturday morning I felt conflicted. If this is a major civil rights issue of our era, a pinnacle moment, a line in the sand, I wanted to be there. I did not want to avoid a protest or be silent in the face of hatred. There were a ton of people I love and respect planning on attending. I want my kids to live in a better world, and I want to be proud of the legacy I leave them. Several different religious and political groups I know and respect were making a presence. And hearing more about the tiki torch wielding Nazis from Friday night at UVA, and their intentional use of that fear inducing imagery was really hard. I had a friend message me upset that I was discouraging folks from attending. I felt a lot of pressure to show up. So we made a last minute decision and I threw my medic bag together and we took the baby to his grandma’s house.
We parked strategically away from the sites of protest once in Charlottesville and walked in. I wanted to find the place where some of my friends were meeting in a church. I had been told that earlier that morning things were calm there. Not knowing Charlottesville well we ended up where the white supremacists were gathered being confronted by counter protesters in Emancipation park. I immediately wanted to burst into tears.