I do my best to stay away from politics, from big trigger issues. I have a very laid back attitude about most things. A “you do you, as long as you let me do me” attitude. I like happy things, sassy comments, and snacks. Not fear or anger or dramatics, but sometimes things like this need to be addressed.
Right now, I am in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since I have the next week off, I had planned to visit my friend who is studying here at the University of Virginia for the weekend, before continuing on my road trip. I am sitting in my friends room (while she is at an EMT training class), typing away on my computer because I have something that I feel needs to be said.
Right now, there is a local state of emergency only a couple blocks away from me, because of a White supremacist rally that started last night and turned violent. There are Nazi flags being flown, torches being burned, the Virginia National Guard was called in, to manage what the news is saying is the biggest White supremacy rally in decades. These are things that you see in history book pictures. These are things that I thought didn’t happen anymore.
Right now, I am afraid. To go outside. I have lived in the US for 20 years, since I was born here in 1997. This is the first time. The very first time that I have ever been afraid because of the color of my skin, because of where my family comes from, because of what I look like.
Right now, I am afraid for others. There are friends that I care about here. There are people who are brave enough to stand out there today and protest the rally. They value their beliefs more then they value their safety, and that is something very special and commendable.
Right now, I am afraid. I am afraid because my family has been checking in on me ever since they saw the news, and they are worried that because I am a minority I will be a target.
And there are people that will say that because I am not a minority that is traditionally discriminated against, that me feeling don’t count. That I have nothing to worry about. That as long as I stand by and don’t make any trouble that I will be fine. But someone please explain to me why. Why is it that it is my responsibility to stand by.
And if you are one of those members at that rally today, then I have something to say to you.
Everyone has an opinion. People may favor one race over the other. That is their prerogative as an American citizen. The First Amendment guarantees that. We all get to have opinions, and voice them. Fine. But this? This is not peaceful protest. This is violent. This is hateful. It makes me sick. People can have all the opinions they want. People can say they don’t like certain races, don’t like certain people. But threatening the safety of others? That is the line. When there are people that are afraid to leave their house because of your actions? That’s the line. Race or ethnicity does not determine a person’s worth. It does not qualify any violence towards others. A person is a person. We are all people. We are all people sharing the same country, the same land, the same laws. We all have a right to be here.
My name is Nicole. I am a non-white, naturalized American citizen. I work, I pay my taxes, I volunteer. I am a contributing member of society.
My name is Nicole, and I deserve to be able to walk outside, in the country that I am a citizen of, without worrying about my safety.