You could be forgiven for thinking the movement has gone quiet. But you’d be wrong.
By Dani McClain
On June 1, the right-wing blogger and avowed white supremacist Jason Kessler and other alt-right activists met for dinner on the patio of Miller’s Downtown, a popular burger joint in Charlottesville, Virginia. The dinner was two weeks after white nationalists had gathered in the city’s Lee Park, wielding torches as a kind of dress rehearsal for the mid-August “Unite the Right” rally that left counterprotester Heather Heyer dead and dozens more injured. According to local reports, members of the white-led group Showing Up for Racial Justice surrounded Kessler’s party that night at Miller’s, recording the gathering on their phones and shouting, “Nazi, go home!” At a nearby table sat University of Virginia professor Jalane Schmidt, who at the time was trying to establish a Black Lives Matter chapter in Charlottesville. As black passersby stopped and showed interest in the confrontation, participants in the SURJ action directed them to Schmidt’s table. She considers that night to be her group’s first real meeting. Schmidt knew that many BLM chapters were founded in response to police shootings. “It begins in a crisis,” she told me. “In our case, it was the crisis of the alt-right organizing in our town.”
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