If there is one thing that we need to discuss, it’s Charlottesville. Earlier this week there was a massive joining of alt-right forces which culminated with a march on the University of Virginia’s Charlottesville campus. Amidst the demonstration being held, fights broke out with counter-protesters, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, a paralegal and community activist, and the broken leg of 26-year-old Marcus Martin who jumped in front of the vehicle of James Field Jr, moments before Field drove into the larger crowd.
Reportedly there are more of these alt-right/Nazi and KKK rallies being planned. One is planned for this coming Saturday, August 19, in the city of Boston, in addition to one that is supposed to take place in Texas. Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston has since come out and released a statement to the press stating that no rally permit will be given to those within the alt-right and Nazi community, however an article from CBS claims that the permit was recently issued yesterday morning. On the internet, many people have been saying that it’s freedom of speech, and that not allowing the progress of this rally in Boston is a violation of the First Amendment, but on what grounds? Hate speech is not covered under the umbrella of the First Amendment, because those are considered as fighting words, which, thanks to Chaplinsky v New Hampshire (1942), are not protected.
Many people have since spoken out denouncing the alt-right/Nazi movement, amongst those are celebrities and government officials such as Jimmy Kimmel and former President Barack Obama. It is imperative that we as people step up for justice.
We as artists, painters, musicians, writers, have a civic duty to speak on the world that we live in. It can’t just be the Black Lives Matter movement that fights this, or it can’t just be a couple of people in a city that stand up and say “this is wrong”; to get something done, to fight off evil, we must all come together. This is your time, this is when you put your feet to the pavement and step up for justice, equality and equity.