Park City stands with Charlottesville | ParkRecord.com

Park City stands with Charlottesville

The Park Record editorial, Aug. 16-18 2017

PR

The images of overt racism emanating from Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend were heartbreaking — a stark reminder that hatred and violence still lurk just below the surface in communities throughout our country. But the fact that so many of us were surprised by the number of so-called American citizens who would flaunt those despicable sentiments is also disheartening.

Countless representatives from minority groups have been trying to tell us the battle for civil rights is far from over.

By all accounts, Charlottesville is a progressive town that values diversity and tolerance, not unlike Park City. In fact, last weekend's confrontations were triggered by an effort to publicly renounce Virginia's racist past and embrace its multicultural future. But, emboldened by the jingoistic rhetoric of our most recent presidential campaign, their actions roused the ire of the darkest elements of our country's checkered history.

We need to understand that if it could happen in Charlottesville, it could happen here. There are reports that several right-wing, white-supremacist groups are planning follow up rallies in cities around the country. It is not inconceivable that similar demonstrations could take place here in the West where the line between ultra-patriotism and inexcusable racism is sometimes intentionally blurred and too often crossed.

Park City has had its own brushes with right wing extremists. In 2011, the infamously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church tried to incite a confrontation over a Sundance Film Festival movie screening, but instead found its message drowned out by local high schoolers touting peace and love.

In times of crisis, Parkites from both sides of the political aisle unite to support those who are being persecuted. Recently more than 200 concerned citizens gathered to support local Latinos who were reeling from the Trump administration's threats of mass deportations. This week, many Parkites joined the rallies in Salt Lake City to express their solidarity with Charlottesville and their disdain for the KKK, the neo Nazis and white supremacists.

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In the weeks to come we, as citizens, and our leaders, need to remain vigilant, ready to respond to any hint of sympathy for racist rhetoric or violent activities. We need to make it clear to law enforcement and the legal system that we will fully support their effort to mete out justice for victims of intolerance, and that we will withdraw support from any politicians or businesses who do otherwise.

Park City stands with Charlottesville.