Elizabeth Voss published DA & AT Zurich responds to Charlottesville in News 2017-11-01 08:16:40 -0400
On August 12, we joined millions in horror, witnessing the events in Charlottesville, VA, where a rally organized by white supremacists and neo-Nazis terrorized the local community. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, since September 11, 2001 the majority of terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil have been perpetrated by white supremacists. The Trump Administration turns a blind eye to this reality. At the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, a white supremacist protester ran his car into a group of counter protesters. He killed Heather Heyer, an anti-racism activist, and injured dozens of people. Our horror turned to disgust when President Trump refused to unequivocally condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who organized the marches and equated their actions with those of the counter protesters demonstrating for civil rights and against hatred.
Alarmed about the impact of Trump’s dangerous rhetoric, the Zürich Chapter of Democrats Abroad Switzerland and Action Together Zürich organized a public phone-in and call to action on August 18. The emergency response aimed to provide strategic outcomes–phone calls to Members of Congress, information exchange, and community building around anti-racism, social justice, and civic engagement. The event recognized Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer as well as all victims of terrorism and people everywhere who educate and organize for a more equitable and peaceful world.
U.S. Americans living abroad received sample scripts and called their Members of Congress to request that they do everything in their power to unequivocally stand against hatred of all forms, and stand up for civil and human rights during this crucial time in U.S. history. Nearly fifty people attended the event at Lindenhof in Zürich, a historic site of civil assembly. For some, it was their first call to a U.S. Member of Congress. For others, it solidified their commitment to on-going participation in the democratic process. People in Switzerland of all nationalities were invited to show their support and solidarity.
Author: Darcy Alexandra, Zurich Chapter Democrats Abroad
For as long as I can remember, I have identified with and held dear the programs and ideals that the Democratic Party represents. I come from a union family who instilled in me the importance of voting for candidates who protect workers’ rights. As a young adult, I benefited from the services offered at a reasonable cost at Planned Parenthood. I have used the social safety net when it was necessary and I had no other options. So many of my life experiences and my beliefs necessitate my allegiance with the Democratic Party; truly, the party cares for the real needs of the American people with basic empathy underlying each of the policies put forth by our representatives.
As an American living outside of America, I can appreciate all of the concerns of those living back home as well as the concerns that are specific to those of us who live outside our nation's borders. They are issues that aren't thought about until they impact us, but once we're here, the consequences are quite obvious.
Our nation is at a critical point. I think our first priority has to be protecting and stabilizing our democracy, and then moving forward to improve it for all citizens, regardless of where they lay their head at night.