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There are opportunities for Latinos to be empathetic and mindful of standing by social justice movements as well as opportunities to learn about anti-Black and anti-indigenous racism.

By Angely Mercado Last Saturday, Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacist named James Fields Jr. who drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Violence had erupted in Charlottesville, VA and it was hard to absorb. Another counter-protester named Deandre Harris was attacked and beaten by armed white supremacists. One of the people who attacked him was a Puerto Rican man Michael Ramos and according to a post by Remezcla, he claimed that he isn’t a racist. I’ve heard this argument before and I’ve seen all kinds of non-Black Latinos of color say problematic things about Black folks and other PoC. People I am closely related have told me that I shouldn’t date anyone who is “too dark”; folks at my church have said that they aren’t racist but the “Black guy” in their neighborhood was scary. Comments on social media threads stating that it’s impossible to be a person of color and be anti-Black and that the problem wasn’t their comment or anti-Blackness but rather “esa gente” (those people), are all too common. Latinos are a diverse group: there are indigenous people, Black Latinos and the descendants of European colonizers. The common misunderstanding is that Latino is a race but it isn’t, it’s an identity that’s mainly tied to the geographic location of south and central America. So within the same immediate family, there can be a range of skin tones, hair textures, and facial features. We need to be mindful of our own history and colorism. There are opportunities for Latinos to be empathetic and mindful of standing by social justice movements as well as opportunities to learn about anti-Black and anti-indigenous racism. There are Spanish phrases like “cabello bueno” or “cabello malo” which means “good hair” or straight hair and “bad hair” which is kinky hair. BIPOC throughout the Americas have yet to be included in the standard of beauty and are often ostracized in their own countries.

Heather Heyer’s death is not an excuse to further perpetuate white supremacy and the erasure of women of color.

By Arielle Gray I rolled my eyes over the outrage splashed across all social media outlets when white nationalists descended onto the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville. The scene wasn’t anything new or surprising to us — to Black Americans, this insidious imagery is emblematic of our country’s racist history. We’ve all either seen or witnessed torches in the night, white supremacist gatherings or outward displays of hate. Our recent political climate has emboldened white supremacists to finally take off their hoods. Counter-protesters filled the city the next day to denounce the hundreds of white nationalists expected to gather in Charlottesville for the “Unite The Right” rally — Heather Heyer was among them when James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, drove into a crowd of protesters and killed Heather. Fields, was later arrested and charged with second-degree homicide among a myriad of other counts. It wasn’t long after that Heather Heyer’s name started trending under the #SayHerName hashtag. Heather Heyer was an activist. A daughter. She was loved. She put her life on the line to uplift the disenfranchised and to denounce white nationalism and used her white privilege to both educate her fellow white people and to condemn anti-blackness. Heather was what a lot of white women should be. Heather Heyer should be honored, as all activists who’ve lost their lives on the line, should be. But we don’t need to use the #SayHerName hashtag to do it.

Dear white allies: We're tired of white people asking us how they can do better, so it's up to you to teach your friends.

By Aaminah Shakur I began this essay two days before Charlottesville, VA imploded. I originally opened with two scenarios that I have witnessed of white self-described “allies” asking how they can influence their fellow white people in their social circles to do better for Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). It seems like every time something happens, white people wring their hands and ask “what can we do?” This places the onus on marginalized people to provide suggestions, lists, links, and handholding (i.e. literal and emotional labor) at a time when we are already trying to cope with and survive the given situation. It has been my experience that even when we offer the labor of suggestions, most white "allies" will ignore (or argue) every suggestion we give. Marginalized people can literally name “this is what I need from you right now” and be told that isn’t really what we need.  While we are frequently treated as a monolith, where one of us is supposed to answer for our entire community, in the face of specific actions we ask allies to take suddenly they remember that none of us can speak for all of us, and they tell us that whatever we are asking for is unreasonable and does not represent our community’s “real” needs. So many lists fly around every time a crisis is happening, and when a new crisis happens we have to create a whole new list — even though it looks eerily like the last list that people should have been familiar with and applied to the new situation.

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