The white nationalist protest that erupted at the University of Virginia this past Friday is not an isolated incident. It is not an event organized by a small, powerless group of individuals with socially unacceptable views. It is not something that can be swept under the rug or ignored. This violent display of racism and privilege must be viewed as a wake-up call for our nation.

When a group made up of Klansmen and Nazis can get together undisguised and feel safe enough to walk in support of their racist, violent, and warped beliefs, it is a clear indication that something is inherently wrong with the society they reside in.

In today's America, hate crimes and bigotry have become continually more socially acceptable.

President Trump came forward following the event with a message that did not condemn the Alt-Right's hateful rhetoric, but instead called for mutual understanding and an end to hatred "on many sides." In this way, he made it abundantly clear that in his version of America, racial injustice is acceptable. Instead of condemning blatant displays of Nazism, our political leaders are allowing it, sugar-coating the reality of the situation.

When did freedom of speech become freedom of hate-speech?

Speaking out in favor of a restoration of racial inequality is not a justifiable act. This type of racism and hatred is not something that deserves to be protected, and it is not something that America should be proud of. These Alt-Right Nazis and Confederates should not be deemed politically relevant. Their views and opinions are not to be accepted into our society.

"Freedom Of Speech" does not mean the ability to use one's speech to hurt others.

America needs change. People of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexualities, and socioeconomic backgrounds should feel safe in this country. Freedom and equality is the true American dream, and no hate-mongering alternative group should be allowed to spew beliefs that deter from it. There is no room for Nazis in America, and they will not be tolerated or accepted.

Now is the time to get involved and stand strongly against hate

If we, the citizens of the United States of America, do not demonstrate our resistance against the hateful rhetoric of white supremacy, who will? We must set an example that beliefs that are a danger to one specific group of us are not to be accepted by any of us. America is only the "land of the free, home of the brave" when all of us are free and all of us stand bravely together to protect those freedoms.

Now is the TIME to be outraged. Now is the time to stand strong against hate. We have to.

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