Standing Up to Hate: The Charlottesville Clergy Collective and the Lessions of August 12, 2017

This book gathers firsthand accounts of members of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective recalling their experience in resisting white supremacist violence during that “summer of hate” and seeking to repair the damage in the following months and years. Here is what happened as we remember it, and here is how August 11 and 12 changed us and our congregations forever.

Excerpt from the Introduction:

The “summer of hate” of 2017 revealed to many of us the remnants of slavery in our community and highlighted the necessity for repairing the toxic results of what many see as America’s original sin: the enslavement of millions of people of African descent. Racism is a systemic problem that has poisoned the structures, institutions, and foundational assumptions of the United States. Therefore, no one institution or segment of society can singlehandedly address the challenge of racism. Doing so calls for a level of trust, collaboration, and multifaceted strategies among diverse populations, institutions, and communities that span and bridge many divides, including racial, ethnic, political, socioeconomic, and religious lines. There is no single strategy for healing racism and no one perspective on which all can agree. However, we are all called to play our part to bring about the “Beloved Community,” a phrase used by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to describe a society where “caring and compassion drive political policies that support the worldwide elimination of poverty and hunger and all forms of bigotry and violence.”

Table of Contents

Editor’s Notes
Introduction: We Were There on August 12, 2017
The Birth of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective—Alvin Edwards (National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.)

Section One: What Happened on August 12?

Lessons from the Summer of Hate—Michael Cheuk (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship)
Charlottesville: Before and After—Tom Gutherz (Union for Reform Judaism)
A Rabbi Responds to the Summer of Hate—Rachel Schmelkin (Union for Reform Judaism)
A Sufi Tale of August 11 and 12—Rabia Povich (Inayati Universal Sufi Order)
“Here Come the Clergy!”—Richard Lord (United Methodist)

Section Two: How August 12 Changed Me

Whatever Is True—Elaine Thomas (Episcopal Church)
A Quaker Reflects on August 12—Elizabeth Shillue (Religious Society of Friends)
An Unlikely Activist—Ann Marie (Shinko) Smith (Insight Meditation Buddhist)
August 11–12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Further Reverberations: The Death Rattle of White Nationalism in the United States—Brenda Brown-Grooms (American Baptist Churches USA)
Encounters with Hate—Carol Sims (Episcopal Church)
In Defense of the City—Gay Einstein (Presbyterian Church USA)
Growing into a Peace Builder—Maren Tyedmers Hange (Mennonite Church USA)
Toward Racial Justice—Cynthia Power (Religious Society of Friends)
The Aftermath in Charlottesville Clergy Collective—David Garth (Presbyterian Church USA)

Section Three: How Faith Communities Were Changed

The Path of Overwhelming Love on August 12, 2017—Phil Woodson (United Methodist)
Using This for Good—Will Brown (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship)
Where Is God in Charlottesville?—Adam Slate (Unitarian Universalist)
My Story—Alvin Edwards (National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.)
An Appropriate Response—Susan Kaufman (Insight Meditation Buddhist)
An Ancient and Eternal Law—Sharon Beckman-Brindley (Insight Meditation Buddhist)
Solidarity from Six Hundred Miles Away—Elizabeth Emrey (American Baptist Churches USA)


Questions of Identity within the Charlottesville Clergy Collective—Michael Cheuk (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship)

The Charlottesville Clergy Collective is a group of interfaith clergy and interested laypeople who gather regularly to discuss and address the challenge of racial and social injustice in the Charlottesville Albemarle region of Virginia.