- Wikimedia Commons
Hours after a white nationalist plowed his car into a group of protesters in Charlottesville, VA, killing one woman and injuring dozens more, a fellow nationalist released plans for a "White Lives Matter" rally at Texas A&M University on September 11. Less than 24 hours later, he announced the event will be attended by Richard Spencer, a leading voice in the country's white nationalist upswell.
"TODAY CHARLOTTESVILLE TOMORROW TEXAS A&M," shouted the Saturday press release sent by Preston Wiginton, a College Station white nationalist. He said the event's purpose is to "protest the liberal agenda of white guilt and white genocide that is taught at most all universities in America."
Wiginton, who has compared the plight of white people in the United States to that of Native Americans, is the same local who organized Spencer's December event at A&M, a lecture that drew thousands of protesters in opposition. It sparked such unrest on campus (and across the state), that A&M changed its policy on external speakers, only allowing speakers who have on-campus sponsorship by a recognized organization. The September 11 event, however, will be held in the Rudder Foundation building, one of the public spaces on A&M's campus. It's unclear if A&M administration will try to intervene.
What's clear, however, is that Wiginton's event is a direct response to the Charlottesville attack. The Saturday event, originally a white nationalist protest to defend a Robert E. Lee statue, turned bloody as nationalists and those protesting white supremacy clashed. Attendees say Charlottesville police and state troopers did little to intervene with what Defense Secretary Jeff Sessions has (surprisingly) called "domestic terrorism."
The Charlottesville rally aligned with a similar event in San Antonio, where heavily armed protesters waving Confederate flags rallied in Travis Park to oppose City Council's consideration of removing the park's prominent Confederate memorial. The group was met with a large counter-protest Saturday, and members from each party threw insults and provoking slurs at each other across the invisible dividing line. But the rally did not draw the kind of physical, unregulated violence seen in Virginia.
Activists and student groups at A&M have already pulled together a counter protest to the September protest. "Staying silent in the face of oppression is not what Aggies do," Adam Key, the student organizing the opposition protest told the Eagle.