Mid-Missourians gather for Charlottesville vigil
COLUMBIA - Over one hundred people gathered to stand against intolerance and violence from protests in Charlottesville, Virginia this afternoon.
CoMo for Progress hosted "Vigil for Charlottesville," which began at 1:00 p.m. at Peace Park. Several attendees brought posters displaying words such as "Pray for Charlottesville" and "#HeatherHeyer." Attendees also brought flowers and wrote messages supporting victims on a poster-card.
This past Saturday, a car drove through a group of counter-protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. One woman was killed and 19 others were injured. Charlottesville police arrested the driver of the vehicle, James Alex Fields Jr., who is charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit and run.
Candace Galen, the organizer of the event, said she was inspired to plan a vigil after seeing violence and racism displayed in Charlottesville.
"I was thinking about what we could do for the people of Charlottesville," Galen said. "For the black people who are the brunt of this racism, and to stand up against the Nazi's and white supremacists that invaded Charlottesville and took over that town."
Although locals made up a majority of the crowd, several traveled from other parts of mid-Missouri such as Sedalia, Moberly, and Jefferson City. George Cobblah, a Sedalia resident, said he came to Columbia with his wife to show support for those protesting against racism in Virginia.
"It affects all of us, one way or another," Cobblah said. "The more we talk about it, the better. Being apathetic to these things don't help anybody. We need to at least begin to talk about it and see if we can reach a solution."
After the vigil ended, Galen said she felt inspired and hopeful for the future.
"We had people here from different walks of life," Galen said. "We had a wonderful vigil together by coming together. It gives me hope - hope for Columbia and hope for the country."