AAG Statement on Charlottesville Tragedy and White Supremacy
The American Association of Geographers is deeply saddened and disturbed by the recent deadly and violent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Rallies supported by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members led to the killing of one counter-protester, the wounding of at least 19 other protesters, and the deaths of two law enforcement officers doing surveillance of the rallies by air. On behalf of its almost 12,000 members, the AAG expresses heartfelt sympathy to the victims of the Charlottesville tragedy and their loved ones.
The AAG also wishes to use this statement to offer the strongest possible condemnation of white supremacy and the perpetrators of this recent violence. The AAG calls upon US federal, state, and local government officials to be unequivocally anti-racist in their denouncement and investigation of white supremacy—not only in Charlottesville but also in the many US communities long harmed by racism in both highly publicized and everyday ways.
Enhancing diversity, promoting inclusion, and advocating for historically marginalized social groups are central to the AAG and its mission. Recent events in Virginia strike at the heart of these values. Moreover, geographers are making important contributions to studying the social and spatial foundations and consequences of racism, violence, and inequality. Yet more can and should be done in the discipline of geography and by academicians and professionals in other fields to address these critical issues.
Members of the AAG are encouraged to use their research, teaching, professional practice, community outreach, and channels of public communication to oppose racism and violence and advocate for a constructive national dialogue about white supremacy and race relations in general. This advocacy can come in many forms based on the abilities and sensitivities of AAG members, but it is vital that the discipline’s informed and committed voices are heard, whether that is through the media, at government and policy meetings, in classrooms, teach-ins and educational forums, or among grass roots community organizing.