I always try to understand people.
I think that it’s important to understand one another, because if we don’t, then we can’t ever enact change.
If we refuse to see anything from the perspective of another, then we are eternally stuck within our own heads, unable to acknowledge that things exist even if we don’t personally experience them. We’re unable to grow or learn or make the world a better place.
But I have to admit, when it comes to all this, I don’t understand.
I don’t understand how you can hear a fellow human being begging to be taken seriously—begging for equality and the chance to live safely—and just shut them out.
I don’t understand how you can tell other people that the way they feel is wrong, just because you don’t feel the same way.
I don’t understand how you can look at superficial things like skin colour or background or birth and think that makes you better than someone else.
I don’t understand how, on August 12, 2017, a man got into his car and looked down at a group of people who had done nothing more than defend what they believed in, and he decided that he would run them down. I don’t understand what led him to that decision. I don’t understand how he just accepted that he wouldn’t know who this would injure or even kill. I don’t understand how he didn’t care.
I don’t understand how he could accept that a child might lose her mother, a father might lose his son, and yet he thought that was an acceptable price to pay for an attempt to silence them, to scare them out of their fight for equality.
I don’t understand how you can look at a group of people—any people—and think that they are inherently lesser than you. I don’t understand hating that much, especially not for such a trivial reason—like race.
And I want to understand. Not because I agree with what they did, but because I want to be able to say something that they might understand, that might stop this from happening again. But I don’t think I can.
All I can say is that I am sorry to the families of the deceased, and I am sorry to those who were injured. All I can say is that the anti-racist protestors should have been there, needed to be there, and they should continue to be there even after this.
Do not allow violence like this to silence a worthwhile fight. Do not allow them to win like this. All I can say is that the man who did this was a terrorist, and his actions should be treated accordingly.
And to those whose ideologies supported this man’s way of thinking—the white supremacists and the Nazi sympathizers—all that I can say is that, while I do not understand you, I feel sorry for you, because I cannot imagine how much you suffer by choosing a life so filled with hate.
Author: Ciara Hall
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren