Student Association President Peak Sen Chua joined 159 student body leaders from across the country Tuesday in rallying behind students at the University of Virginia after a violent white nationalist rally near its campus in Charlottesville, Va.
In a collective letter, college presidents from 37 different states and the District said they supported the UVA student body and called upon their peers “to speak up in the face of injustice, as silence reduces us to bystanders in oppression.”
“We will continue to support students and universities in their peaceful resistance to violence, racism, white supremacy, bigotry and acts of terrorism on our own campuses and beyond,” student leaders wrote in the letter.
The SA shared the letter on its social media pages, adding on Facebook that it commits “to advocate for the victimized and marginalized students on our campus, and we will continue supporting the fight against white supremacy, injustice and oppression.”
Torch-wielding demonstrators marched through UVA’s campus Friday night chanting slogans like “white lives matter.” The next day, right-wing demonstrators, some carrying Confederate and Nazi flags, gathered in the town of Charlottesville for a rally that turned violent. One person was killed when a car rammed into a crowd of anti-racist counter-demonstrators.
Chua also released his own statement about the attacks on his Facebook page, saying he signed onto the letter to stand against “bigotry and racism” and pledging to support marginalized groups.
“In days past, present and future I know that we have felt and will continue to feel powerless and frustrated,” he said. “Together, we can and we will take these feelings and work to make GW and the world beyond a safe and inclusive place for everyone.”
Chua’s move is the latest of several University efforts to condemn the Charlottesville events. The Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service released a statement Tuesday denouncing the attack, saying the center actively works against expressions of hate.
“The past week’s events in Charlottesville have once again exposed the veins of hatred, racism, fear of the other and violence that have long run under the veneer of civility in American life,” the statement read.
University President Thomas LeBlanc, two weeks into his new position, also condemned the violence, calling it “senseless” in a statement Monday.