Charlottesville, Virginia is making news around the world when on the 11th August, a protest by a right-wing multi-group turned horrifyingly violent. Many have spoken out on social media, condemning the violence. Now, one father is taking a stand against his son and disowning him publicly after marching at the Unite the Right rally.
"My name is Pearce Tefft," the letter begins. "I am writing to all, with regards to my youngest son, Peter Tefft, an avowed white nationalist who has been featured in a number of local news stories over the last several months. On Friday night, my son traveled to Charlottesville, Va., and was interviewed by a national news outlet while marching with reported white nationalists, who allegedly went on to kill a person."
"I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son's vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home."
"I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same."
"Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family's heartbreak and distress. We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now.”
"His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents. Why must we be guilty by association? Again, none of his beliefs were learned at home."
"We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview. He once joked, 'The thing about us fascists is, it's not that we don't believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We'll just throw you in an oven."
To say that it wasn’t easy to write such a letter is an understatement. This father has had to publicly renounce his son. He has had to share with the public what the family is going through because of his child.
Speaking up is what we can do today, more easily than ever before. With social media, we have the power to say no to such extremists. Words are not just words when they are chanted by millions of people around the world.