White supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville “sought violence and caused violence,” says IBLC

August 15, 2017 Cherrish Pryor, IBLC

For immediate release:
Aug. 15, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) today issued a statement by IBLC Chair Cherrish Pryor on the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA:

“Charlottesville has left a deep scar on the memory of a nation. It is etched in blood and darkened by racial hatred and violence that must be eliminated and never again tolerated by our country or its citizens.

“White supremacist Richard Spencer encouraged racists throughout the country to go to Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate General Robert E. Lee statue. Spencer turned the protest into a ‘Unite the Right’ rally to attract several hundred white racists from around the country.

“These alt-right protesters came in militia uniforms and helmets. They were armed with guns, knives, baseball bats, clubs with razorblades, chemicals to spray, and raw sewage to throw. The Confederate and Nazi flag wavers sought violence and they caused violence.

“The violence in Charlottesville is domestic terrorism and must be called by that accurate description. This domestic terrorism has caused the death of one woman, two law enforcement officials died in a helicopter crash because they had to work this horrific, violent display of racial hatred, and 35 people were injured. All of this violence was absolutely unnecessary.

“What took place with the killing of a young woman by a white supremacist car driver and the attacks by other white supremacists should also be called bias or hate crimes. However, it would not be officially acknowledged as such in our own state of Indiana, one of only five states where bias/hate crimes are not recognized as the law of the land.

“For years, it has been one of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’ (IBLC) top priorities to pass a bias/hate crimes bill. It would not inhibit free speech nor infringe upon anyone’s thoughts. However, it would create stiffer penalties on those who attack others because these people are different than they are. They are innocent people blessed and proud to be as God made them.

“A coalition of more than 30 community-based organizations have joined with the IBLC over the past decade in an attempt to pass a bias/hate crimes bill into law, so Indiana could become a welcoming state worthy of the description, ‘Hoosier Hospitality.’

“The absurd hatred may be based on race, religion, nationality, language, or gender preference. Every year, our efforts in passing a bias/hate crimes bill are crushed by those who see no need for such protections of the innocent. A bias/hate crimes bill sends a clear message to those who seek violence and destruction against those whom they hate. A bias/hate crimes law would say in a loud and clear voice that Indiana will not stand for bigotry and intolerance and that we will protect all the citizens of our state, regardless of who they are.

“Let us take the tragedy of Charlottesville and replant the seeds of wisdom that will germinate and grow into a fair, equitable and peaceful society. We can do that in Indiana through a bias/hate crimes law. IBLC lawmakers again will offer such legislation and all of our members will support it. We invite all elected officials to join us in making our state one that welcomes everyone of good will.”