By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
A year after the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, which turned violent and deadly, the National Park Service approved the same White nationalists to have a two-day rally near the White House in Lafayette Park on August 11 and 12.
Jason Kessler, who organized last year’s Charlottesville protests, said that this year’s rally has a different goal.
“This year we have a different purpose and that’s to talk about the Civil Rights abuse that happened in Charlottesville, Va. last year,” Kessler told WUSA9.
Similar to the rhetoric used by President Donald Trump after the Charlottesville rally, Kessler said that the violence was a result of the counter-protesters, who were speaking out against the White nationalists.
Tracye Redd, of Black Lives Matter D.C., disagrees with Kessler.
“That whole narrative that we started the violence is a myth,” Redd said.
According to WUSA9’s Michael Quander, Kessler is working with the National Park Service and police and giving rules to attendees in order to encourage a safe rally.
Overall, Kessler said the mission of this year’s rally is to focus on White Civil Rights.
“We’re facing a lack of our First Amendment Rights. We’re not able to peaceably assemble. We’re not able to speak,” Kessler said.
Redd said that the idea of a White Civil Rights rally goes beyond freedom of speech but crosses into the territory of hate speech.
“If your right to rally and your right to protest means that someone else’s life might be in danger, then it is no longer free speech but it is hate speech,” Redd told WUSA9.
Kessler said that he’s not attempting to be offensive towards people of color with this rally.
“This is about White people and standing up for our rights,” he said.