Freedom isn’t free

7/7/2017, 1:08 p.m.

We refuse to be intimidated by the Ku Klux Klan and its plan to hold a rally this Saturday in Charlottesville.

The Loyal White Knights of the KKK based in Pelham, N.C., and perhaps some of their Virginia cousins, intend to bring their race-based hate to Charlottesville because right-minded elected officials on the Charlottesville City Council voted in April to remove and sell the statues of Confederates Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson that are situated in public parks.

While a lawsuit has held up the sales, it hasn’t stopped white supremacists from whipping up a toxic sentiment of venom and animosity to antagonize the people of Charlottesville and others across Virginia.

In an effort to combat hate with love, the local NAACP, members of the clergy and others have planned a spate of activities for Saturday “that will not allow the Klan to have the luxury of demonstrating before a crowd,” according to Janette Boyd Martin, president of the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP.

The branch also has invited concerned NAACP branches from around the state to attend its program, “Steadfast and Immovable,” at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jack Jouett Middle School in Charlottesville.

The plan is for speakers to empower positive energy and uplift as people take a stand for justice, equality and civil rights in the Charlottesville community.

We support the NAACP’s effort to neither back down or back away from the fight for right in Charlottesville.

And we encourage our readers to go to Charlottesville to participate in the positive events launched by the NAACP and others to show support for the City Council’s decision.

We must stand with communities where elected officials have come out on the right side of a tough decision. Richmond also will need a show of solidarity when we finally resolve to remove the statues of Confederate traitors from Monument Avenue.

Our mayor and City Council should take note of Charlottesville, New Orleans and the many other cities that are removing public tributes to the racist past.

The events in Charlottesville remind us that freedom isn’t free. The struggle for liberty, equality, and justice — which began in America for people of color almost as soon as the first ships arrived bearing Europeans whose agendas were tied to the subjugation of other human beings — continues today.

We must be part of the fight in our communities, in our nation and in our world. Our freedom depends on us and our actions.