To the University of Virginia and Charlottesville Community:
We, the Wellesley College Class of 2021, come from communities around the globe. Despite our differences in origin, upbringing, worldview and political ideologies, we desire to express solidarity with UVA in light of the recent events in Charlottesville. We believe that the hatred spewed by white supremacists was not a matter of mere differences in opinion, but rather, an act of domestic terrorism that manipulated and threatened the right to freedom of speech, and we recognize that the experience of UVA’s incoming freshmen will be drastically different because of it.
We refuse to remain silent. This protest was fueled by racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments of bigotry towards historically silenced and marginalized groups. While we are proponents of the first amendment right to freedom of speech and value diversity in ideology, we actively condemn white supremacy and any belief systems or groups that seek to harm other members of humanity based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, class or ability. These groups oppose not only the values of our institutions, but also what we believe America could and should be: a refuge for all. We will not accept the idea that there are “many sides” to this issue when it is clear that there are only two: those who are fueled by hatred, and those who unequivocally reject it.
As a campus with many students of color, we feel the pain that our siblings of color at UVA and elsewhere may feel and promise to stand with you. We also stand in solidarity with the UVA students who stood against the white supremacists on August 11 and 12 and applaud your refusal to be silenced. We admire those of you who protested against terror in your home and fought for your school and your values. As a class, we want you to know that Wellesley stands with you. Now, and in the future, we will always challenge ourselves and those around us to use our voices to bring about a more just world for all. Love will be the fuel we use to fight for our marginalized family and friends.
Your feelings of anger, hurt and pain are valid and deserved. As a community, we offer our empathy and support to UVA students and to everyone affected by this horrifying event. We resolve to use our feelings, both of anger and of love, to passionately and unrelentingly strive for an equitable and just future. We remain optimistic that with a united passion and drive, we have the power to create true revolution, and we encourage you to embrace this power and to never stop fighting back. As Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” It is the optimistic ones, the ones who can imagine a world of love and understanding, who are truly revolutionary and will be the forces that bring about this more just America that we are striving for. Love isn’t passive; it’s a powerful force that guides action and change. Let’s remember this in our hearts as we defend our future, one fight at a time.
Please reach out to us if we can support you in any way. There is still so much work to be done, but we are honored to stand by your side and work alongside you.
With love and hope,
Members of Wellesley College Class of 2021