A white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, devolved into chaos when racist demonstrators clashed with left-leaning counter-protesters.
African-American leaders were quick to condemn the racist event.
Derrick Johnson, interim president of the NAACP, accused President Donald Trump of emboldening bigots.
Roland Martin, host of TVOne’s “NewsOne Now,” expressed a similar sentiment.
Bree Newsome, the activist who removed the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s Capitol building, blamed the Republican party as a whole.
DeRay McKesson, an activist affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement and police accountability advocate, remarked on how police appeared to exercise caution with the white demonstrators despite their violent behavior.
Ben Jealous, a former NAACP president running for governor of Maryland, suggested that bigotry would fail “if we stick to our values.”
Justin Fairfax, a candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor who would be Virginia’s highest-ranking black official if he wins, also emphasized rising above “hate mongers.”
“We cannot allow hate mongers to divide us and make us forget our core beliefs of fairness and inclusion in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Fairfax said in a statement. “The citizens of the city of Charlottesville need our assistance at this time as hate groups continue to use the city to demonstrate their hate.”
“This moment is also a reminder of the need to tone down political rhetoric and the negativity we often see in our current politics,” he added. “We must be deliberate and transcend politics to stand united against those who want to divide communities.”
Earlier in the day, Trump elicited criticism for failing to condemn the rally. He has since condemned it on Twitter.