Vigils in East Lyme Held in Solidarity With Charlottesville

In the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and current political uproar, a few shoreline residents want to promote peace within their community.

A vigil was held in East Lyme on Wednesday night in honor of the victims of violence that happened in Charlottesville over the weekend. 

Robin Soule, of Niantic, her daughter Kate Eberle and friend Josh Kelly, organizing a candlelight vigil at McCook Point Park, near the band shell, in Niantic on Wednesday night. They'll be honoring the victims of last weekend's violence in Charlottesville.

"The incidents last weekend in Charlottesville were horrifying and heartbreaking. And Niantic, we’re blessed with living in such a lovely community," Soule said

The vigil is about promoting unity, she added, not politics.

"Just (want) to get people together in the spirit of love and peace," she said.

Residents agreed with keeping politics out of the gathering.

"Taking the politics out of that and just saying that we care about one another," said Micheline Nollez of Ellington.

Several hundred people gathered at McCook Point Park for the moment of silence after sharing words of love, unity and community.

Attendees at the vigil told NBC Connecticut that while Charlottesville might be far away, it's up to the entire country to show that bigotry and discrimination will not be tolerated.

"If you don't learn from history, you're condemned to repeat it," Nicholas Fischer, of New London, said. 

Fischer marched on Washington in 1963 and said he's shocked there's still a need for a demonstration like this in 2017.

"We are not in a post-racial society... I think we all have to be aware there are people who want to ignore the realities of inequality and discrimination and inequity," Fischer said.

Part of Soule’s inspiration to set up the vigil was the fact that she was in Charlottesville about three weeks ago.

"Having been in that spot and having walked across the street where this happened, it just really grabbed me by the heartstrings," Soule said.

Vigil organizers collected donations for the Legal Aid Justice Center, a Virginia-based legal team that provides assistance for racial and immigration justice issues. 

Also Wednesday night, Groton Congressional Church is hosting an interfaith prayer service and vigil that began at 7:30 p.m.

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