After a rally drawing thousands of white supremacists to Charlottesville, Va., about 100 people gathered in downtown Sarasota to show their opposition to hate.
About 100 people came together Aug. 13 for a “vigil against hate” after a demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.
On Saturday, Aug. 12, a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville brought thousands to the town, resulting in a number of clashes between those demonstrators and counter protestors. A driver drove into a group of counter protesters, resulting in one death and 19 injuries.
Diane Perry organized the Sarasota vigil to give locals an outlet after “the outrageous events in Charlottesville,” she said.
“The nazis…. White supremacists. We just don’t support that and we don’t need that kind of violence in any kind of protest, and we strongly object to it,” she said.
About 100 RSVPed to the event on Facebook, and met in Five Points Park at 6 p.m. The vigil started with some short speeches from members of Action Together Suncoast, the organizing agency.
Perry reminded everyone the purpose of the event was to recognize Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who died on Saturday, as well as two police officers who died that evening.
“The other very important reason we are here is to oppose hate. We will not tolerate white supremacy in the United States,” Perry told the crowd, inspiring cheers.
“I pray that we don’t have more of these [rallies], but I fear that we may. So be ready. Be alert. And be on guard.”
The crowd was directed to form a circle and join hands after their candles were lit, for a moment of silence that stretched minutes. Then everyone joined in a rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.”
Police called the event “peaceful” and said they didn’t expect any counter protesters. None showed up to the vigil, which ended after about 30 minutes.
Lori Biagini attended the rally to send a message.
“People need to know that we’re not happy with the current administration and how they’re treating humans,” she said.
Alexis Jackson and Ryan Francis went to show that they and other locals don’t accept white supremacy.
“A lot of people in this community don’t realize there is a strong support network of people who are saying no to the fascists and nazis and white supremacy,” Jackson said. “It’s really important to show that we’re here and we’re not going to deal with that.”
“People are dying,” Francis added. “It’s too far.”