Friends & Family,
As I'm sure you're aware, a group of white supremacists recently descended on Charlottesville, 30 miles from our gates, for the "Unite the Right" rally. This hate-fueled gathering, in protest of the impending removal of the Robert E. Lee statue downtown, resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and the injury of a handful of other counter protesters. These events also precipitated the deaths of State Troopers, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates.
It goes without saying that Montpelier condemns, in the strongest possible terms, this show of violence, racism, and ignorance. As the home of the Father of the Constitution, we support the right to free speech and peaceful assembly as protected by the First Amendment. But let me be clear – what I saw transpire with my own eyes was neither. It was hatred. It was bigotry. It was racism in its most blatant and unambiguous form and it is not to be condoned, rationalized, or obfuscated.
These events further underscore the need to tell a more complete American story about our nation’s history and its impact on today’s society, and your support makes this possible. History is complex, but it is also additive, and we cannot leave the past in the past. It is our duty to foster conversations that encourage people to seek out truth in history in order to move our country forward. They are painful, complicated, and controversial. They are also necessary, and to shy away from them because they are contentious is cowardly and irresponsible.
To understand what happened in Charlottesville and what’s continuing to happen across the country, it’s imperative to understand our history of race as a nation.
I thank you for supporting Montpelier’s mission to connect the past to the present through the lens of the Constitution to tell a more complete American story and your commitment to making the invisible visible.
I hope to see you all soon.