Local leaders hold Charlottesville vigils

Local leaders hold Charlottesville vigils and peace rallies

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- More than 100 people gathered in park near Town Point in Virginia Beach to remember the two state troopers -- Berke Bates and Jay Cullen -- who died in a helicopter crash while patrolling the protests in Charlottesville as well as the woman, Heather Heyer, who was killed when one of the pro-white supremacists allegedly plowed into her  with his car. 

One young woman who did not want to be identified was still visibly shaken by the events that unfolded in Charlottesville Saturday spoke at the vigil.  The woman said she served as a street medic and was very close to where Heyer was hit and killed.

"Literally 30 seconds before that happened, I was looking at my friend who was hugging another comrade who said, 'This was so awesome!' because we were laughing and smiling, we were celebrating our victory over Nazi scumbags!" exclaimed the woman, which was followed by  applause from the crowd.

Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz from the Congregation Beth El also spoke and he said the gathering was not about politics, or hatred: "To  love one another for who we truly are, to recognize our differences as beauty and to recognize we are much more the same than we are different!"

In Newport News, another gathering took place off of Jefferson Avenue. 

Dave Jenkins spoke to the crowd and he later told 13News Now, "You know, I'm a white guy and I'm a Christian. Those people in Charlottesville were fascists and white supremacists don't speak for me, they're not my people, they're not what I believe in.  I'm a veteran, I served in Desert Storm and the guy to my right, to my left, I didn't care what color they were, I didn't care what religion they had. We were all together."

76-year old Joyce Teele said people can't afford to be silent, "because of all of these places that we have seen Selma, Birmingham, Charleston, Pulse, Charlottesville. How many times do we have to do this? How many times do we let people like that raise their heads from where they belong?" asked Teele.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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