President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville left Americans very discontent, including Carmen Perez, one of the national co-chairs of the Women’s March. She sat down with mitú to share her thoughts on his response.
Carmen Perez has been advocating for human and civil rights for 20 years and she’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Perez is one of the national co-chairs for the Women’s March and has been fighting for incarceration rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, and the list goes on and on.
Perez says communities of color aren’t in much of a shock to see the violence that has come with white nationalism as seen recently in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“It’s not necessarily a shock to many of our communities, as communities of color. I will say that it is a shock to America because they are now using our tactics,” Perez says. “They’re saying our chants. They’re studying our ideologies so they can actually come after us. It’s important that we come together to end all the pettiness. They want a racial cleansing and they’ve called for a racial cleansing here in America, in South Africa, and Europe.”
After President Trump responded to the violence in Charlottesville by blaming both sides, Perez was left with one question for him.
“I’m extremely angry at the fact that we are allowing our president, number 45, to make statements about our groups which are grounded in non-violence,” Perez says. “We have never gone out there to be violent. That is not our intention.”
She added: “Where is your compassion for the protesters that were killed?”
Perez strongly believes that President Trump’s presidential campaign was the groundwork for the uprise of violence in this country.
Perez points back to Trump’s rhetoric of “when you were talking about Mexicans being rapists, when you were talking about Muslims and you were talking about black people being thugs” as being the rhetoric that emboldened the perpetrators of the recent violence.
And the bullying Perez says Trump has been participating in has only further emboldened the alt-right.
“I’m going to have to tell you that I blame you and I expect more from you,” Perez says to Trump. Perez clarified that she doesn’t think Trump naturally has the compassion needed in his heart. Instead, she says that her belief that people can be good compels her to ask the president, who is supposed to represent all Americans, to do what is right and stand for the majority of Americans against this ideology.
Because of the bullying and attacks, Perez is calling on everyone to come together to fight together.
“We have to come together in solidarity,” Perez says. “It has to be Latinxs, African-Americans, Muslims, indigenous folks, API [Asian-Pacific Islander] folks; we all need to come together during this time because they want us out and that’s not going to happen.”
As for why she thinks the violence happened in Charlottesville, she doesn’t think it was because of the protesters who were harmed.
“You continue to do that and we’re not going to allow it,” Perez says. “We’re going to continue to come after you.”