The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities would like to join countless others across the United States in expressing its horror, outrage, and sadness at the violent events in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. The CHRO stands in solidarity with the counter-protestors who stood up against the hateful “Unite the Right” rally.

Ostensibly organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in a Charlottesville park, the Unite the Right rally was immediately apparent as an organized effort to espouse racist ideology and intimidate those who denounce these ideas. As the weekend wore on, the rally grew increasingly violent and ultimately ended with the death of 32-year-old counter-protestor Heather Heyer and the injuries of numerous others.

“America has been down this path of racial animosity before. We cannot let the hateful rhetoric and actions of neo-Nazis and white supremacists determine our country’s future,” said Deputy Director Cheryl Sharp.

“It is incumbent upon us all, from the White House down to ordinary citizens, to do everything we can to counter the hate and racism emanating from these groups. The violence and bigotry displayed by those at the Unite the Right rally should be unacceptable to everyone in our society,” added Executive Director Tanya Hughes.

Events like those in Charlottesville this weekend can either unite us as a nation or divide us. The CHRO will continue to do everything it can to make Connecticut a safe, united place for all its citizens.

The CHRO is one of the oldest state civil rights agencies in the nation, established in 1943. Its continuing mission is to “eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity and justice for all persons within the state through advocacy and education.”