Richmond, Virginia is bracing for violence as neo-Confederates target the former capitol of the Confederacy less than one month after Heather Heyer was killed in what many are calling an act of domestic terrorism.
CSAII: The New Confederate States of America is planning an unpermitted "Heritage not Hate" rally to defend Richmond's Robert E. Lee Monument following the deadly "Unite the Right" rally to defend Charlottesville's Robert E. Lee statue.
"I hope nobody loses their lives tomorrow, on either side, I really do," CSA II organizer and Three Percenter militia organizer Tara Brandau told WTVR. "That's not why we are here."
Friday morning, Brandau posted photos of her in a pickup truck, flashing a Three Percenter gang-sign while wearing a 'POLICE' hat and confederate fingerless gloves.
Two long rifles appear to be displayed in a rear window rack.
Brandau suggested to NBC 12 that she would be armed.
"We have not encouraged anybody to bring any weapons," Brandau claimed. "The leaders of this will have some. The police officers know, but it's so that our people are safe."
Following the violence in Charlottesville, CSAII's official statement said they would continue to defend "at all costs" confederate monuments, like the statues in Charlottesville and Richmond.
"We pride ourselves in honoring and protecting our Proud Confederate Heritage as well as our Confederate Monuments and Cemeteries to honor our past heros (sic) and not let their memory fade away as is being done by a lot of our government officials today," the CSAII Commanding General wrote on Facebook. "CSA II® will continue to honor our heros (sic) memory by protecting our monuments to their memory at all cost and assisting our fellow members of the Heritage ~ Not Hate Movement to stop the oppressive tactics done by these above mentioned hate groups and government officials."
The Southern Poverty Law Center explained the problem with such an approach.
SPLC noted, "the argument that the Confederate flag and other displays represent 'heritage, not hate' ignores the near-universal heritage of African Americans whose ancestors were enslaved by the millions in the South. It trivializes their pain, their history and their concerns about racism — whether it’s the racism of the past or that of today."
CSA II's "Heritage ~ Not Hate" efforts have included accusing the United States of terrorism that Confederates are fighting to this day.
Yes we have!!!! Heritage ~ Not Hate!!! ~Country~ #CSAII #saveoursouthernheritage #wewillnotbackdown https://t.co/Tg788HGdFR— CSA II® (@CSA II®)1466706318.0
CSAII is based in Tennessee and many in Richmond have moved based the war, which ended over 150 years ago.
"We’ve moved past the Lost Cause narrative. If there are local residents concerned about the statue, I don’t think they need a group from Tennessee to come and speak on their behalf," director of the Peace Center, Adria Scharf told RVA Magazine “All of us that were in Charlottesville saw how the presence of weapons served to intimidate people."
“If they cancel the CSA protest, there would be no counter-protest,” local activist Cullen Montgomery explained. "I’m concerned about my community, my friends, and neighbors. I saw horrific violence in Charlottesville, and I’m worried that we can’t count on the authorities to protect us.”
"You're causing trouble in our city," Richmonder Jessica Lawrence yelled at the group in front of WTVR cameras. "It's only been one month since Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville. Have you no sensibility?"
"A woman was killed because people gathered behind that flag, behind that Lost Cause," Lawrence noted. "You're invested in mythology that promotes hate, your heritage is nothing but hate."
"Get out of my city, get out of my city!" Lawrence shouted.