MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A woman was killed on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., as she tried to protest a white nationalist rally.
Sunday night, some Minnesotans gathered at Lake Calhoun Park at sunset. They say they marched around the lake to stand against racism and for a fair and just system. This was one of many vigils around the country on Sunday.
The reason the march was here is because of ongoing debate over the name Lake Calhoun, as it was named years ago after John C. Calhoun, a supporter of slavery. After this weekend, tensions are high all over the country.
One person who was there went to the University of Virginia and lived in Charlottesville.
“I want to represent my alma mater and say we don’t support this thing at all and it’s important also to be joining with my friends and neighbors here in Minnesota to say that it’s not just in Virginia these things can happen and we don’t want it to happen here,” Juli Thompson of St. Anthony Park said.
It’s the scene that has people all over the country gathering for vigils. From Boston to California, people are mourning the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. She was protesting a white nationalist rally when officers say a rally supporter, James Fields, plowed through the crowd with his car.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” President Donald Trump said.
On Sunday, the President’s Republican colleagues are reacting to his response, saying he should directly denounce white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan.
“I would urge the president to dissuade them of the fact that he’s sympathetic to their cause, because their cause — it’s hate, it is un-American. They are domestic terrorists. And we need more from our president on this issue,” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said.
Jason Kessler, the event’s organizer, addressed what happened in a tense news conference.
“The hate that you hear around you, that is the anti-white hate. That, fueled what happened yesterday. What happened yesterday was the Charlottesville Police officer refusing to do their job,” Kessler said.
He was escorted off and the pressure mounted.
“I disavow any political violence and what happened yesterday was tragic,” Kessler said.
Meanwhile, Charlottesville locals gave an impromptu round of applause to police officers stepping into slow down rallying nationalists.
It’s a rally that is officially over, but far from resolved.
The president’s daughter did make a more specific response to the violence, tweeting, “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis.”
People northwest of the Twin Cities also came together to pray for the victims in Charlottesville. The Union Congregational Church in Elk River held a prayer vigil Sunday night.
The church says it’s standing in love and peace against the evil of racism.