My intention with this blog is to focus on positive local action towards a more equitable and vibrant community. But tragedy in Charleston last week has been overwhelming my thoughts. I feel such grief for the families and community that lost such bright spirits. And I feel despair about living a world where such a horrendous crime can occur. As someone committed to being a part of the struggle to dismantle our racist systems, I am once again reminded how far there is to go. The murders of those 9 innocent people was the act of a white supremacist terrorist, now a part of our country’s ongoing history of violence being used to maintain racial injustice. It has to stop.

There is so much to be done, and the important thing is to keep at it. Please continue educating yourself about the way oppression and white supremacy function. Please share what you learn with others.

#StayWoke
I understand that there are many aspects to this work. One place to turn is staywoke.org where you can connect with activists working to end racism and police violence in America.

#TakeDownTheFlag
There is a petition many have signed that calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from all government places. There’s no argument in my mind about the importance of this. I realize there are a myriad of issues related to the perpetuation of white supremacy that we have to address. As I’ve written before, what historical markers we find our don’t find in our public spaces is certainly one of those issues. Click here for the petition.

#AVLHistory
Students at UNC Asheville have started a petition asking to remove Confederate General Vance’s name from their police station. Excerpt: “To take down Vance’s name and replace it with an African American figure of resilience would still allow us to remember the horrors of the antebellum era. However, it reminds us, even when this nation seems it has hit the worst of times, we are constantly charging towards the final defeat of injustice. These are the individuals that students should be reminded of daily. We wish to not see the names that remind us of the consequences of white supremacy as it continues to leave a path of pain and inequality. Instead, we want to immortalize the names of those who have tirelessly worked to show, in the end, intolerance can be defeated.” Click here for the petition.

Forward.

A statue memorializing the Confederacy is spray-painted with the message

A statue memorializing the Confederacy is spray-painted with the message “Black Lives Matter” several days after a shooting at a historic black church Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/WCSC-TV, Philip Weiss)