Mid-Shore residents rally against hate
WYE MILLS — After the events in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups rallied and clashed with anti-hate groups, Eastern Shore progressives gathered Friday night, Aug. 18, to denounce hatred, bigotr y and white supremacy.
Thousands of cars heading to Maryland and Delaware beaches for the weekend passed signwaving, anti-hate rally-goers asking for peace amongst humanity. Cars honked as they zoomed by, many times followed by waves and cheers. In some instances, though, middle fingers were shown.
Organized by Talbot Rising and Together We Will — Delmarva, more than 50 people stood at the corner of U.S. Route 50 and College Drive near Chesapeake College and denounced all forms of hatred and bigotry.
The protests in Virginia, which have sparked national outcr y and further protests against hategroups, left one dead Aug. 12 after a vehicle plowed into a crowded Charlottesville intersection of counter-protestors acting out against the “Unite the Right” rally, which injured others, as well.
Many rally-goers said they felt a need to denounce bigotry, violence and other forms of inequality, and an obligation to speak out against the current administration.
Ann Turpin, 81, of Centreville said, “Silence is compliance, and we cannot allow that.”
Turpin, who has eight grandchildren, said it is important for people to voice their opinions by at every opportunity and to call their senators “before we get to the crisis point.”
White supremacists and neo-Nazi groups were protesting against the removal of a Gen. Robert E. Lee statue from downtown Charlottesville.
Queen Anne’s County NAACP President Eric Daniels said the events in Charlotesville are a “travesty” that will “bring us all together all over the country.” In the face of tragedy, Daniels said, Americans form bonds and stand up for what they believe in.
He said having rallies and speaking up is important to remind people “we don’t want that in our neighborhood, we don’t want that in our state, we don’t want that in our countr y.”
Hannah Eastman, 15, president of Queen Anne’s County High School’s Young Democrats Club, said she believes bipartisanship debates are key to moving forward, and if that is not achievable, “there’s no chance of curing this deep divide between people.”
Denice Lombard of Talbot Rising said being silent would send out the wrong message.
“The message we want to send is hatred, bigotry ... white supremacy won’t be tolerated, and we will build an army of love to counter it if it does come up,” Lombard said.
One goal, she said, is to complete the “unfinished mission” of Maryland’s native son Frederick Douglas in uniting people “regardless of race or creed.” Lombard said people have been enslaved, tortured, died and lived in fear to achieve racial justice, “and we won’t go back.”
Deborah Krueger from Together We Will — Delmarva said the peaceful rally was to show Eastern Shore residents support peace and stand against violence and hatred.
“We just wanted to make people know that over here, the same as lots of other places, we’re not going to stand for that,” she said.
Also a member of the Queen Anne’s County Democratic Club, Krueger said letting other Democrats in the area know they aren’t an “island” is a goal in hopes more people will stand up and speak out.
“We’re in remarkable times, not remarkably good times but remarkable times,” Bozman resident Ridgely Ochs said. “... If not now, when? And if not me, then who? It’s a hot day, but I’m happy to be here.”
Early Friday morning, a statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney was removed from the Maryland State House lawn, the same fate many statues of Confederate-era symbols have had in the past week. Taney, who penned the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court ruling, stated black individuals could not be U.S. citizens.
Widespread debates have been held about the removal of such statues, with some saying it is revisionist history. Others say that though history should not be forgotten, statues of slavery sympathizers belong in a different venue.
Earlier in the week, monuments of Lee and Stonewall Jackson were removed in Baltimore.
Talbot Rising is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization run by progressive volunteers who use peaceful resistance, education and advocacy for a variety of issues, according to its website.
Together We Will — Delmarva is “a liberal, politically driven group intended to facilitate communication and support amongst like-minded people,” according to its Facebook page.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_kibaytimes.
More than 50 people gathered at the corner of U.S. Route 50 and College Drive in Wye Mills on Friday night standing in solidarity with Charlottesville, Va., and denouncing all forms of hate and racism.