Toronto activists plan Monday rally against white supremacist violence
The gathering, scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday at the U.S. consulate, calls for Canadians to “register our dissent” towards the weekend’s racist violence in Charlottesville, Va.
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People protesting the violent white supremacist rally that occurred on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., plan to gather outside of the U.S. consulate in Toronto on Monday morning.
The gathering, called “Toronto in Solidarity with Charlottesville,” calls for Canadians to “register our dissent” towards the “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, where a rally of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other far-right Americans fighting the removal of a Confederate monument descended into scenes of violence Saturday.
A 32-year-old woman, counter protester Heather D. Heyer, was killed when by a car driven by James Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man who was earlier photographed among white nationalists at the rally, plowed into a crowd.
The Monday event is being organized by two Toronto-area American history professors.
“We all have been horror-struck by this weekend's events in Charlottesville, Virginia — the white supremacists … the President's ‘both sides do it’ response and the failure of law enforcement to keep the peace,” Anne Rubenstein, a co-organizer and professor at York University, wrote in an email to potential attendees.
Donna Gabaccia, a co-organizer and professor at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, said she “was angered by the very public display of fascist language and symbolism” and “wasn’t surprised that violence and death resulted.”
“As a historian I see these events as part of a long history of white violence,” said Rubenstein. “White people protecting their place in a racial hierarchy by killing people and terrorizing people.”
“We white people who disagree — to put it mildly — should come collect our people.”
Rubenstein believes that Canadians have an important role to play in challenging discrimination and violence.
“Canada is far from perfect,” she said, but added that “a lot of people in the U.S. look to Canada as the place where everything is better.”
“One thing Canadians can do is continue to provide an example of how to be better.”
On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump offered a vague condemnation of bigotry and violence “on many sides,” drawing criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for showing reluctance to being explicitly critical of white supremacist movements.
The Trump administration in July cut funding to a group that fights white supremacy.
The Toronto rally is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday.
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