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The Right Wing No Longer Has the Loudest Voice: Prince William County, VA Stands Up to Bigotry

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by Ken Boddye

Solidarity.

Solidarity: Unity of purpose, interest, or sympathy.

That’s what was shown at a demonstration today in Prince William County as dozens gathered from throughout Northern Virginia to protest ICE, Corey Stewart, and the Potomac Nationals on opening day.

For context, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman (and failing GOP VA Governor candidate) Corey Stewart is well-known for his divisive rhetoric and outright bigotry, but lately he has taken it to a whole new level. Those that lived here ten years ago will attest to a period of fear-fueled racism led by Stewart, and many of us see warning signs of us going back to that time. Especially as the Board of County Supervisors has once again signed onto an agreement with ICE as part of the 287(g) program, which essentially allows ICE to conscript local law enforcement to help detain and deport regardless of due process.

Not on our watch.

The Potomac Nationals have given Corey Stewart close to $100,000 in campaign contributions, even as the organization claims to pride itself on inclusion, diversity and bringing communities together. Recently, a letter was sent to the Potomac Nationals to cease contributing to Corey Stewart, and they declined to do so. Thus the protest.

Today’s protest actually started earlier as local teacher and community leader Atif Qarni led a 16-mile “Solidarity Walk” from the Manassas Battle Field starting at 10:30 a.m and ending at Pfitzner Stadium right before the demonstration.

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Atif Qarni and fellow demonstrators during their Solidarity Walk.

Press attended as dozens of demonstrators from various groups gathered outside the stadium to show solidarity and listen to a slate of speakers. Among those speakers was Atif Qarni himself, local Indivisible chapter co-leader Kiera Coy, CASA in action, Prince William Democratic Committee Chairman Harry Wiggins, Candidate for the House of Delegates (HD-31) Elizabeth Guzman, and Virginia DNC Member Yasmine Taeb.

Notably, two counter-protesters (a mother and son team) sporting pro-Stewart and pro-Trump signs and attire jumped into the fray. Although peaceful, they did get into a few arguments with protesters, and at one point competed for screen time as Univision was in attendance.

As the demonstration wrapped up, protesters took to the walkway leading up to the stadium to engage in solidarity chants and inform game attendees about the Nationals’s support of Stewart.

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters from immigrant, refugee, minority and LGBT communities.

This year we prove that we stand for inclusion and progress.

Reminder: We have a Special Election for Clerk of the Court in just 5 days! We’re in the home stretch so Jacqueline Smith needs all the help you can get!

I’m running for the House of Delegates this year to bring our message of progress to Richmond. My website is here and my donation page is here.