Caleb Slater, a conservative college student, decided he’d attend a vigil for the woman killed amid the violent clash between white nationalists and left-wing Antifa members in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
But Slater, from Ithaca College in New York state, isn’t just any student.
He’s president of his school’s College Republicans chapter as well as a first-generation half-black, half-Dominican grandson of a civil rights activist, he told the College Fix.
So he told the outlet he headed to the downtown Syracuse vigil — hosted by Black Lives Matter — knowing he’d “encounter many people that I did not agree with on most issues, but hoped that we could at least come together to combat and call out extremism in this country.”
Thing is, Slater also wore a hat given to him by the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative college student group. The idea, he told the College Fix, was “to show that conservatives and progressives can both agree that the ‘alt-right’ pose a threat to the Western World.”
But Slater told the outlet that those at the vigil for Heather Heyer didn’t quite see it that way — specifically the masked, black-clothed “thugs” from Antifa.
Here’s how Slater described the scene to YAF:
About an hour into the rally a participant noticed my hat and proceeded to stick up his middle finger at me and then direct the other Antifa supporters of my very presence. One of the girls from Antifa, dressed in all black, began to shout me down and ask, “Are you with right wing media? Why do you have the f***ing hat on? You’re with Young America’s Foundation?” I simply responded by informing them that I meant no harm and was peacefully assembling. She then proceeded to yell loudly, “We don’t want you here.” At this point I turned on my camera, because I did not know what they planned on doing to me. She got more aggressive and Antifa supporters surrounded me, like a pack of wolves. One member tried to grab my camera, to which I latched hard to, so that they would not damage my personal property.
Another member of Antifa took the hat off my head, screamed more expletives and tossed my YAF hat away. It was at this moment the camera stopped rolling, as someone pressed the record button on my camera and then proceeded to yank on the strap of my camera, choking me. Three or four of them then proceeded to continue to scream, “We don’t want you here!” while grabbing me by my button-up shirt and dragging me off Clinton Square and into the street. This was NOT a blocked off road and cars were present. I could have gotten run over and they did not care.
More people began to chime in and yell, “No Trump, No KKK, Nazi go away” over and over again. I replied by shouting that I am in fact not a neo-Nazi, but a first generation born half Dominican, half African American whose grandfather was a civil rights activist. I came to this event in peace, I came to this event to stand beside my fellow Americans to disavow bigotry and instead, I became the victim of bigotry, an intellectual bigotry. I was not attacked for my words, nor my actions. I was attacked for being a conservative, Antifa targeted me, shortly after seeing a Young America’s Foundation hat. My crime was wearing a hat on public property and I was assaulted for it.
Slater added to YAF that nobody intervened on his behalf and he saw no authorities in the area to assist.
However, he told the organization that the Syracuse Black Lives Matter group did condemn Antifa’s actions and apologized to Slater — but did note that they likely saw his YAF as “radical.”
(H/T: The Washington Times)