Before August 12th


Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Confederate monuments brought its recommendations to the Charlottesville City Council. Community members attended with “Remove the Statues” signs. Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy and Kristin Szakos voted to remove the Lee statue. Mayor Mike Signer and Kathy Galvin voted against removal. Bob Fenwick abstained, delaying any decision until the following meeting. Bellamy was the only Black member of City Council; the other four were White. All the councilors were Democrats.

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Jason Kessler was charged with assault for punching a man on the Downtown Mall. He was later convicted and given 30 day suspended sentence, which meant he was released back into the public.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mayor Signer hosted a rally declaring Charlottesville the “Capital of the Resistance.” Three women of color defended the crowd from Jason Kessler, who had shown up with Joe Draego to disrupt the rally. Draego, who had previously been removed from City Council chambers for anti-Muslim remarks, was open-carrying at the rally, and the three women of color eventually got him ejected by the police. White rally attendees criticized the three women of color for their actions.

Monday, February 6, 2017

City Council voted again on the Blue Ribbon Commission recommendations. Fenwick added his vote in favor of removing the Lee statue, so the motion passed 3-2. Council voted to remove just the Lee statue and to keep the Jackson statue in place, while “transforming” both parks.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

GOP gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart held a campaign rally at Lee Park. Community members protested Stewart’s support of the confederate statues and his alignment with white supremacists. One community member was punched by Joe Draego, and subsequently charged by Kessler.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Jason Kessler hosted a “press conference” inside a closed, secured location, featuring white supremacist speakers, under the pretext of announcing the filing of a court petition in a frivolous, racist attempt to remove Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy from office. Activists stood outside the entrance to the press conference and distributed a statement to members of the media demanding that media stop referring to Kessler as a “local blogger” and start referring to him as a “white supremacist” or “white nationalist.”   

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Jason Kessler’s lawsuit to have Wes Bellamy removed from Charlottesville City Council was dismissed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Activists participated in the GetEqual National Day of Action for Trans Women of Color by doing three simultaneous banner drops at strategic locations throughout Charlottesville, with one banner hung outside Charlottesville Police Department that read “Chief Thomas: Where is Sage Smith?”

Monday, March 20, 2017

A group of Confederates filed Payne v. City of Charlottesville, which effectively halted the city’s plans to remove the Lee statue. The case is scheduled for trial in fall 2018.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Community members disrupted a town hall at UVA hosted by Representative Tom Garrett, R-5th.  While Garrett was speaking, activists walked to the front of the room with a banner that said “No Dialogue with White Supremacy” while chanting “white supremacy has got to go.” Outside the town hall, community members protesting Garrett were assaulted by white supremacists with wooden riot shields, led by Kessler on a bullhorn, who were rallying in support of Garrett. Virginia State Police, University police, and Charlottesville police watched without intervention. A CPD officer threatened an activist wearing a mask with a class 6 felony arrest.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sage Smith’s family, alongside clergy and community supporters, held a day-long vigil in front of the Charlottesville Police Department demanding a meeting with the police chief, which was agreed to.

Friday, May 12, 2017

White supremacists left Nazi-themed notes on receipts at local bars.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

White supremacists Richard Spencer, Nathan Damigo, and Matthew Heimbach held a rally at the Jackson statue. They were confronted by a small group of Charlottesville residents, which grew into a group of 15-20 people who chased the Nazis back to their cars. That evening, Spencer led a Klan-like torch rally in Lee Park. This brief event included confrontation by two anti-racist community members, one of whom was punched by a rally attendee before the crowd dispersed.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Community members participated in SONG’s Black Mama’s Bail Out action with a rally at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail to send love to Black mamas inside. The rally was followed by a potluck at Westhaven Recreation Center to learn more about how bail works in Virginia and why so many people aren’t even given the possibility of getting out of jail while they await trial.
Activists led a vigil at Lee Park, where six people of color spoke to hundreds of community members about everyday white supremacy in Charlottesville. As the vigil ended, Kessler attempted disruption, and assaulted a woman of color within full view of the cops. He was arrested, charged with disorderly conduct, and released. Two vigil attendees, in their attempt to protect the crowd, were violently arrested. Both were charged, and one was held overnight.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

After several days of national media lauding Mayor Signer for his “resistance” leadership, and incorrectly crediting him for the May 14 counter-vigil, activists launched a social media campaign to demand that Signer stop taking credit for POC-led resistance work, and to remind the public that Signer voted to keep Lee statue in place.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Kessler was confronted by three community members at Tropical Smoothie Cafe, who demanded that he not be served. After the community members explained to Tropical Smoothie Cafe management who Kessler was, the owner posted a notice to employees about Kessler.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Flaggers were spotted in Lee Park. Community members gathered in Lee Park to hold the space and prevent another rally. Kessler, Derrick Davis, and Andrea & Jordan Lawhon were kicked out of Firefly, Champion, and C&O after community pressure. Kessler and his crew eventually went to the Downtown Mall in front of Draft, where a group of 15-20 people confronted them. Several cops came and escorted Kessler away. Kessler made accusations against Veronica Fitzhugh, who was briefly detained by the police. The allegations were eventually dropped. The group stayed until the rest of the fascists left.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A flagger was spotted in Lee Park and was confronted by small group of community members. Several cops came, and the flagger left.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Faith leaders responded to a call to show up in Lee Park to prevent a planned confederate demonstration. They held the park from sunrise to late afternoon. That night, the police showed up at Veronica Fitzhugh’s home with five cop cars and a paddy wagon, and arrested her for alleged incidents from Saturday May 20. She was charged and later released.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Kessler held a meeting of his group Unity & Security for America at the patio at Miller’s on the Downtown Mall. They were confronted by a small group that grew to about 15-20 people. Kessler attempted to identify the protesters, with intent to continue to press charges. Kessler and one of his white supremacist supporters walked to the police station and pressed charges against Jeff Fogel. Fogel was held in the police station without explanation, grabbed by the arm by a cop when he tried to leave, and then allowed to go. Later that night, Fogel was arrested in his house, again with five cop cars and a paddywagon. He charged with misdemeanor assault and later released.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

60+ people gathered at the UVA Rotunda for the March for Community Defense Against Fascism, organized by the Black and Third World Alliance for Community Defense. Speakers addressed fighting fascism, white supremacy, and imperialism in Cville and abroad. The group marched all the way down Main Street, to the Downtown Mall, and then to Lee Park. Police confronted the protesters on Main Street. They handcuffed three protesters and then released them with tickets for traffic violation. After the majority of people cleared out of Lee Park, police bothered the remaining stragglers.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kessler and a few others disrupted a canvassing training at the Music Resource Center hosted by SURJ. Community defense presence at the door prevented white supremacists from entering the building. The participants inside were evacuated.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Veronica Fitzhugh spoke to her supporters outside court at the bail hearing for her and Jeff Fogel.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

White supremacists held another meeting on the Downtown Mall outside at Miller’s. Anti-racists sang and disrupted the meeting. There was a heavy police presence. After the group of anti-racists left, the white supremacists went to Rapture and verbally harassed a staff member.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church hosted the “So Now What” community forum to urge community members not to counter-protest the upcoming July 8 Klu Klux Klan rally. Speakers included City Councilors and the Police Chief. Veronica Fitzhugh responded.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Proud Boys came to Charlottesville. Activists had canvassed downtown businesses with a “Refusal of Service” memo outlining their rights to refuse service to white supremacists. Businesses turned the Proud Boys away.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Activists went to Charlottesville City Council meeting to ask that City Council revoke the permit for Kessler’s Unite the Right rally on August 12. The materials presented included an annotated version of the Unite the Right rally poster.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A CPD officer, Sergeant Via, went to the home of an anti-racist activist woman of color. Via asked her a number of questions about what plans leftist activists were making for the July 8 Klan rally. He asked for the names of other activists, and offered to “help” with any plans activists might be making. She refused to let him in or speak with him. Attorney Pam Starsia called CPD to tell them to stop.
This incident happened at the same time as a Clergy Collective press conference with City officials and law enforcement.

Monday, June 21, 2017

Veronica Fitzhugh received an unannounced visit by Sgt. Via. Captain Lewis responded to the activist lawyer and agreed to call off future home visits.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Attorney Pam Starsia hosted a press conference and delivered a letter to the CPD representing anti racist activists and addressing police repression.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

UVA President Teresa Sullivan sent a message to the UVA community ahead of the July 8 Klu Klux Klan rally, asking the community to ignore the Klan and not counter-protest.

Monday, July 3, 2017

SURJ released a call to action against the KKK in the form of the #BlocKKKparty counter-protest planned for July 8.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hundreds attended the #BlocKKKParty community counter-protest to the KKK. Activists presented ten community demands. Police dressed in body armor and with military-style weapons protected the Klan, and then, after the Klan left, the police attacked peaceful anti-racist protesters with chemical irritants and arrests.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Activists held a press conference on police brutality on July 8.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Community members went to City Council to talk about police brutality on July 8 and to demand City Council revoke the permit for Unite the Right, outlining explicit threats of violence that had been made by its planners and attendees. Legal organizations also submitted a letter addressing police brutality on July 8.
Walt Heinecke applied for permits for community gatherings on August 12 in Justice Park and McGuffey Park.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville hosted a public panel and discussion on racial identity and bias.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Community members went to the Human Rights Commission to ask them to back the demand to revoke the Unite the Right permit.
The ADL included Jason Kessler in a list of White Supremacists.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Community members returned to Charlottesville City Council to ask they revoke the permit for Unite the Right.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Solidarity Cville released a Call to Action for the weekend of August 12.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville released a national call to action for August 12.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Congregate C’ville released a call for 1000 clergy and faith leaders to travel to Charlottesville August 11-13.
A group of organizers hosted a preparatory meeting for people to share concerns with the police prior to August 12.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A group of organizers hosted a meeting in which community members presented concerns to the police through a trained facilitator.

Friday, August 4, 2017

UVA President Teresa Sullivan sent a message to the UVA community ahead of the Unite the Right Rally, asking the community to ignore white supremacists on August 12 and come to UVA instead for presentations.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The City of Charlottesville announced that they would allow the Unite the Right rally permit only if moved to McIntire Park.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville hosted the People’s Assembly to provide space for airing grievances given the lack of a public City Council meeting before Unite the Right.

Thursday, Aug 10, 2017

The Daily Progress ran an editorial falsely blaming Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy, a Black man, for bringing white supremacists to town.
Jason Kessler filed a lawsuit against the City of Charlottesville for moving Unite the Right to McIntire Park. Kessler’s lawsuit was represented by the ACLU of Virginia and the Rutherford Institute.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A federal judge ordered that Jason Kessler, who was represented by the ACLU of Virginia and the Rutherford Institute, must be allowed to hold the Unite the Right Rally in Emancipation Park.
On Friday night, a crowd of three hundred white supremacists wielding torches attacked students and community members at UVA, while police stood by and watched. Meanwhile, Congregate C’ville’s mass prayer service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church across the street was infiltrated by an alt-right member. The church received two gun threats during service and was placed on lockdown with hundreds trapped inside.