WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Japanese American Citizens League on Aug. 14 denounced the racism, bigotry and violence in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in three deaths over the weekend.
One of the deceased has been identified as Heather D. Heyer, a Charlottesville resident who was among a crowd of people counterprotesting a white nationalist rally.
Heyer, 32, was killed when a man drove his car into the crowd.; 19 people were also injured. Police identified the driver as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio. He was arrested after the incident and charged with second-degree murder and three counts of malicious wounding.
The other two who lost their lives as a result of the white nationalist rally were Virginia state troopers H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Berke Bates, who would have turned 41 on Aug. 20. The helicopter the two were aboard to monitor the situation in Charlottesville crashed, killing both troopers.
According to JACL, this is not the first overt act of terrorism against a minority community in 2017, but it was the first to result in deaths.
The JACL said in a statement that the “unbridled white supremacist ideology espoused at the rallies in Charlottesville and Seattle must not be accepted as free expression of opinion, but repudiated as an incitement to commit hate crimes against minority communities and individuals,” adding, “hate speech leads to hate crimes.”
The 88-year-old civil rights organization added: “We take this opportunity to call attention to actions less violent in nature, but equally steeped in racist and bigoted ideology and equally devastating in effect upon minority communities. The Trump administration has systematically dismantled the very instruments our government has in place to protect minorities from discrimination.”