Deandre Harris has received an overwhelming amount of support from people across the country after he was beaten by a group of white supremacists. The incident, which took place in Charlottesville, V.A. during the “Unite The Right” rally on Saturday (Aug. 12), didn’t shatter his spirit.
Speaking with reporters just hours after coming into contact with Nazis and KKK members, the aspiring musician shared his thoughts on the now-viral photo of his injuries and what led him to the protest. “Me and about five of my friends were out protesting. We thought [the racists] left, but at one point they came back,” he explained to The Root. “Everyone was exchanging words with the group, but then the KKK and white supremacists just rushed us.”
Journalist Chuck Modi caught a piece of the incident while filming the Nazi protest and counter protests (the video above). Harris went on to tell Hollywood Unlocked the rally was the first protest he ever attended. The 20-year-old moved to Charlottesville from Suffolk two years ago for a job as an Instructional Assistant for a special education program at a local high school. After he was brought to safety by friends and supporters, photographer Ian Frank captured a photo of Harris’ injuries.
He was then taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a concussion, an ulnar fracture, a laceration on his right eyebrow, a chipped tooth and bruises to his knees and elbows. Harris says he doesn’t regret going to the rally to counter protest because it clarified his commitment to civil rights. “It was a good experience to go out there and see the real hatred and racism that exist out here,” he said. “People say they know racism, but you don’t know racism until you look a KKK member’s hatred in the eye.”
Harris is currently resting but plans to take legal action against the city of Charlottesville. “I’m now an active member of the Black Lives Matter movement,” he said. “If they [white nationalists] come back I will be there. The police and KKK are together. The police weren’t doing nothing out there today. This is where I call home. And seeing what I saw today, is not somewhere I want to call home.” Harris’ GoFundMe for his medical bills also shows strength in numbers. In 23 hours, the fundraiser exceeded the $50K goal by hitting just over $106K.