DC Metro Drops Potential Plan to Provide White Nationalists with Separate Train Cars to Attend Rally

The idea was considered as a way to prevent violence at next week’s Unite the Right rally.

Richard Gray/PA Wire via ZUMA Press

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will not provide white supremacists with access to their own train cars, the agency’s chair said on Saturday. Metro had been considering offering separate trains or individual train cars to demonstrators attending the Unite the Right rally next Sunday in Washington, DC.

The decision not to provide hate groups with separate transportation came after Jackie Jeter, the president of the largest Metro union attacked the idea on Friday in a statement. Jeter said members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 are “proud to provide transit to everyone for the many events we have in D.C. including the March [for] Life, the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter.”

She added, “We draw the line at giving special accommodation to hate groups and hate speech.”

Organizers describe Sunday’s Unite the Right rally as a “white civil rights” event, and have scheduled it to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia. That rally sparked intense violence and led to the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, when a Nazi sympathizer drove his car into counter-protesters. Several hundred men carrying torches chanted “Jew will not replace us” as they marched around the University of Virginia’s campus the night before.

On Friday, Metro board chair Jack Evans said the agency was considering providing protesters with separate train cars to prevent violence. “We’re not trying to give anyone special treatment,” Evans said. “We’re just trying to avoid scuffles and things of that nature.”  He also said that no final decisions had been made, adding, “We’re just trying to come up with potential solutions on how to keep everybody safe.”

But on Saturday, Evans decided against separating the white nationalists attending the rally. “Metro will not be having a separate train, or a separate car, or anything separate for anybody at this event that’s gonna happen next Sunday,” he told Washington’s NBC affiliate. When NBC4 asked Evans if he regretted considering separating the protesters, he claimed the idea “was never under consideration.” 

“We’d like to keep the groups separate,” Evans told the station one day before. “We don’t want incidents on Metro.”

The statement from ATU Local 689 noted that more than 80 percent of the union’s members are people of color, “the very people that the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist groups have killed, harassed and violated.” The union local said it would “not play a role in their special accommodation.”

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate