People in Connecticut are rallying to support those who stood up to white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. after one person was killed and dozens of others were injured when counter-protesters clashed with the nationalists during a rally Saturday.
Several events are planned Sunday, including one in New Haven.
Community activists in New Haven spoke with NBC Connecticut about the events in Virginia, and a local pastor who was actually at the event recounted his experience.
“We are really alarmed by the extent, that someone was actually killed,” said Elias Estabrook of the group Showing up for Racial Justice.
In New Haven, members of Showing up for Racial Justice were stunned by the horrific violence which unfolded in Charlottesville. Their thoughts are with those who lost their lives or were hurt.
“The main reaction has been empathy and sympathy to all the people that have been affected,” member Roberto Irizarry said.
Among the crowd in Virginia was there was Reverend Anthony Bennett, the pastor of the Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport.
“What we hope to come out of it is an awareness that it will not be tolerated and white nationalism will not be normalized as it is becoming normalized,” Rev. Bennett said.
In July in New Haven, activists organized to break up a rally organized by the Proud Boys, a self-described western chauvinist group, on the Green. Some are worried about what they see as a growing concern in the country. No one was seriously injured during that incident.
“It’s important to speak out publically and confront these people and let them know that their hateful rhetoric and the effects of their rhetoric are not welcomed,” Estabrook said.
That’s why they say the president needs to go further to condemn what unfolded in Virginia. But they won’t let that stop them from taking a stand.
“If I don’t do anything to stop this from continuing it will expand and multiply,” Irizarry said.
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, who is President of the
African American Mayors Association, released a statement on the violence.
“As President of the African American Mayors Association and the Mayor of New Haven, CT, I condemn bigotry and hatred in all forms. We will learn more about the details of what occurred in Charlottesville, but it is clear—what we have seen this weekend is a reminder of a dark chapter in American history. The car that plowed through a group of peaceful civilians appears to be an act of domestic terrorism. If that proves to be the case, we call on city, state, and federal officials to pursue that offender with the full force of the law. We also express our condolences for the lives lost from the crash of a state police helicopter monitoring the situation.
Those of us who work in politics debate over policies, tactics, and priorities everyday. That is not what the mob in Virginia was engaged in this weekend. This white nationalist movement by— the ‘Alt-right,’ Neo-Nazi, and white supremacists—challenges the very foundation of our civilization. Will we value every citizen? Will all Americans have a chance to participate in the benefits of our country? How we choose to answer these questions will determine the future of American life. The African American Mayors Association stands with those on the side of freedom, justice, and equality and against those rallying for hate.”
There will be a demonstration protesting the violence Sunday at Church and Chapel Streets at 6 p.m.
Solidarity vigils were also scheduled at the corner of Farmington Avenue and Main Street in West Hartford at noon, McLevy Green in Bridgeport at 6 p.m. and the Danbury Library at 6:30 p.m.