Vigil shows sup­port for Char­lottesville

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DO­RIAN MITCHELL dmitchell@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CHESTERTOWN — Peo­ple gath­ered in Chestertown’s Foun­tain Park for a vigil Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16, show­ing sup­port and sol­i­dar­ity for those af­fected by the re­cent events in Char­lottesville, Va.

Kent and Queen Anne’s In­di­vis­i­ble or­ga­nizer Erin An­der­son said the gath­er­ing was a “stand against hate and in­equal­ity.”

At a “Unite The Right” rally to protest the re­moval of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee Satur­day, Aug. 12, white su­prem­a­cists clashed with counter-demon­stra­tors.

A speed­ing ve­hi­cle crashed into a group protest­ing racism dur­ing the

in­ci­dent, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and in­jur­ing about 19 other peo­ple.

A po­lice he­li­copter also crashed while en route to the rally Satur­day, tak­ing the lives of Vir­ginia state trooper Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pi­lot Berke Bates.

“A memo­rial for Heather Heyer was held to­day in Char­lottesville, where her mother said ‘They tried to kill my child to shut her up, well guess what, you just mag­ni­fied her,’” An­der­son told the crowd in Foun­tain Park.

She said Heyer’s mother, Su­san Bro, also chal­lenged ev­ery­one to “march for­ward to­ward equal­ity and dig­nity for all.”

“We stand here united to say that hate has no home here, that this is not okay,” In­di­vis­i­ble mem­ber Kitty May­nard told the crowd. “There are not ‘many sides’ to this.”

She said those at­tend­ing the vigil have “one voice” that will not tol­er­ate white su­prem­a­cists, white na­tion­al­ists, neo-Nazis or “any other hate group that seeks to ter­ror­ize, de­grade or harm any mem­ber of our com­mu­nity.”

She also said the events in Char­lottesville are a “daily re­al­ity” for many peo­ple and ef­forts to change that are al­ways on­go­ing.

“But we stand here to say to those who brought their ha­tred to Char­lottesville: you don’t get to win,” May­nard said. “Love wins. Mu­tual re­spect wins. Democ­racy wins. Amer­ica wins. And we’re stand­ing here to prove it.”

Seven vol­un­teers then read dif­fer­ent pas­sages in­clud­ing a Face­book post by Heyer — “If you’re not out­raged, you’re not pay­ing at­ten­tion” — and a quote from Nel­son Man­dela.

An­other read a quote from Heyer’s mother, “I don’t want her death to be a fo­cus for more ha­tred. I want her death to be a ral­ly­ing cry for jus­tice and equal­ity and fair­ness and com­pas­sion.”

One pas­sage, read by the Rev. Ellsworth Tol­liver, stated “Char­lottesville ex­em­pli­fies an un­de­ni­able re­al­ity that lurks just be­neath the sur­face in this na­tion we love” and that the white su­prem­a­cists gath­ered to protest “so-called at­tacks on their self-per­ceived racial su­pe­ri­or­ity.”

“That’s it — that’s their griev­ance. Imag­ine how they’d feel if they were told they could not come into Amer­ica be­cause of their re­li­gion . ... Or they could be sep­a­rated with­out warn­ing from their fam­ily or the coun­try they call home,” Tol­liver read. “There are things hap­pen­ing right now in our countr y too. And if we care about what hap­pened ... in Char­lottesville, we’ve got to care about every­day dis­crim­i­na­tion as well.”

As can­dles were passed around and lit, mem­bers of the Ch­ester River Chorale led the crowd in singing “Amer­ica the Beau­ti­ful,” “We Shall Over­come” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” Some peo­ple linked arms or held hands as they sang, while oth­ers raised their lit can­dles into the air.

“We don’t have to let ex­trem­ists de­fine us. Op­por­tu­ni­ties to do right are right in front of us,” Tol­liver read. “We just have to seize them.”

The vigil ended with a mo­ment of si­lence. Af­ter­ward, groups of peo­ple chose to re­main in Foun­tain Park to talk or just em­brace one an­other.

PHO­TOS BY DO­RIAN MITCHELL

Amy Warner of Church Hill, sec­ond from left, Kent County Com­mis­sion on Ag­ing Chair­man Muriel Cole, Gerry Ed­wards, Su­san Flani­gan of Chestertown, cen­ter with arms raised, and oth­ers par­tic­i­pate in a vigil for Char­lottesville, Va., Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16. Spon­sored by Kent and Queen Anne’s In­di­vis­i­ble, the vigil was held at Foun­tain Park in Chestertown.

Kent and Queen Anne’s In­di­vis­i­ble or­ga­nizer Erin An­der­son speaks about the need to stand against hate and in­equal­ity dur­ing a vigil for Char­lottesville, Va., Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16.

PHO­TOS BY DO­RIAN MITCHELL

Par­tic­i­pants in the Char­lottesville, Va., vigil in Foun­tain Park sing to “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

The Rev. Ellsworth Tol­liver reads a pas­sage dur­ing a vigil for Char­lottesville, Va., Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16.

Kent and Queen Anne’s In­di­vis­i­ble mem­ber Kitty May­nard helps to light can­dles for Owen Bai­ley and his mother, for­mer Chestertown mayor Margo Bai­ley dur­ing a vigil Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16.

Par­tic­i­pants hold can­dles and sing “We Shall Over­come” Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16, at a vigil for Char­lottesville, Va.

From left, Ben Bron­stein of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Jane Elvin and Shel­ley Minch of Chestertown hold can­dles and join in singing dur­ing a Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16, vigil.

John Leek of Chestertown holds a sign dur­ing a vigil Wed­nes­day, Aug. 16 in Foun­tain Park.

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