NCRM: 'Ugly underbelly of America exposed itself this weekend' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

NCRM: 'Ugly underbelly of America exposed itself this weekend'

National Civil Rights Museum (Source: WMC Action News 5) National Civil Rights Museum (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

National Civil Rights Museum is decrying the hatred that surfaced in the form of a white supremacist rally in Virginia on Saturday.

The rally in Virginia turned deadly when a man who "idolized Hitler" drove his car into a group of peaceful counter-protesters. His actions killed Heather Heyer, 32.

Many groups around the country organized rallies, made statements, and pushed back against the white supremacist movement.

Now, National Civil Rights Museum is doing the same.

In a statement, the museum criticized President Donald Trump for not initially labeling the incident as terrorism. On Monday afternoon, Trump issued another statement criticizing the actions of white supremacists, calling them "criminals and thugs," and calling racism "evil."

NCRM also called on citizens to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. The museum said Dr. King would want each of us to use peaceful means to push back against hate and keep America moving forward.

"It does not really surprise me," said NCRM President Terri Freeman, who sees the attacks as the continuation of a seemingly never-ending battle against hate in the United States. "We're still fighting some of the same enemies we were fighting 50 years, 60 years, 70 years ago."

Earle Fisher, a pastor and professor at Rhodes College, sees some of the same racism issues happening here in Memphis. To overcome this hatred, he believes we need to focus on educational and economic policies, in addition to criminal justice reform.

"Whatever it takes for us to get the freedom, the dignity, the support, and the liberation that we need, we should be able to exercise those measures," Fisher said. 

"I always have hope that we will get there," Freeman added.

The full NCRM statement is below:

"The ugly underbelly of America exposed itself this weekend as “white nationalists” marched on Charlottesville, Virginia in opposition to the removal of a confederate statue.  A 20-year old Nazi sympathizer was arrested for using his car to ram through a group of counter protesters, killing a 32-year old woman.  Their mission was just as clear in 2017 as it was when Nathan Bedford Forrest founded the KKK in 1865 — hate and terror.

It's puzzling to me how our president can easily call the use of a car as a weapon by an ISIS sympathizer terrorism, but doesn't call out domestic terrorism by a white supremacist!  Frankly, his lack of direct comment, singling out not just hate, but those specifically perpetrating the hate, gives life to those terrorist actions.

Not being one who believes in coincidence, the occurrence of these protests, the demand for symbols of oppression to be removed from our cities, and the rise of hate crimes nearly 50 years after Dr. King’s assassination requires us to not simply take notice, but to take action.  Over these past few days, we’ve seen some of the absolute best of America.  Neighbors rallying to support neighbors against hate, recognizing that we are far stronger together than we are as a fractured nation. And demonstrating that the fringe does not represent the majority.

The homogenous crowds of the “alt right” have no interest in the future, but want to see our country move backwards, to a time when separatism was legally sanctioned.  Newsflash — it will be the diverse threads of our community, joining together in protest to this racist ideology, that will design a beautiful tapestry of a future that we can be proud for our children to inherit.

Dr. King would implore each of us to be one of those threads and to use peaceful means, but he would also encourage us to be tenacious and persistent in our efforts.  Yes, we must be prayerful, but faith without works is dead."

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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