Two days before Thanksgiving, a civil jury in Charlottesville, Virginia, found white supremacists liable under state law for conspiring to organize a violent “Unite the Right” rally-turned-riot that left one woman dead and dozens injured in 2017.

This has been an awful four-year period. And in many ways, we are more divided as a nation than we were on that fateful weekend when white nationalists, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis and white supremacists took to the streets of idyllic Charlottesville to spew hate.They also encountered many obstacles along the way. Maimed and murdered

Remember, this was a planned event to protest the decision to remove a statue of white supremacist and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the public square. The torches they carried evoked the horrors of mob lynchings in past years and Ku Klux Klan rallies. It was deliberate. They were trying to convey a message.

And as hundreds of them marched through the streets, they chanted:

You will not be our replacement.” 

End Immigration.

“Blood & soil”

“Our streets.”

“White lives count.”

“Jews cannot replace us,”

These weren’t chants over a monument. They weren’t there to challenge the removal of a statue. They were there to lay claim to their America – their white,Christian America. They proudly displayed their racism.

They will now pay.

Every single penny of the more than $25 million the jury awarded in punitive damages to those counter-protesters who were injured sends a much-needed signal in America: Racist and repulsive actions will be held to account.

Memorial for Heather Heyer at scene of her death in Charlottesville, Va.

“This case has sent a clear message: Violent hate won’t go unanswered. Amy Spitalnick (executive director, Integrity First for America), an organization responsible for organizing the civil suit, stated that there will be accountability.

Our country needed some closure and healing. It was a perfect week for me to achieve it. That is why I’m thankful.

National columnist/deputy opinion editor Suzette Hackney is a member of USA TODAY’S Editorial Board. Get in touch with her at [email protected]Or follow us on Twitter @suzyscribe



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