One year later: Candlelight vigil on the Decatur Square marks anniversary of CharlottesvilleOver 50 Decatur residents gathered on Decatur Square Sunday evening to hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of a vehicular terrorist attack that left one dead and injured over a dozen others in Charlottesville, Va., last year. Photo by Gabriel Owens
By Gabriel Owens, contributor
Over 50 Decatur residents gathered on Decatur Square Sunday evening to hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of a vehicular attack that left one dead and injured over a dozen others in Charlottesville, Va., last year.
A coalition of organizations from Decatur and Atlanta, including Indivisible Georgia, Hate Free Decatur, Black Lives Matter Decatur, and the Beacon Black Alliance For Human Rights, organized the event, which coincided with the anniversary of the attack and the impromptu vigil held the day after on Decatur Square.
The vigil was not just about remembrance of the attack, but also a “call to action” to battle racism, intolerance, and inequity with human rights, according to Martha Shockey of Indivisible Georgia 4th District. “If we are silent, we are complicit.”
Other speakers from different organizations echoed Shockey’s words, calling for those with privilege to use it for the fight, stand against those that would threaten human freedom and humanity, and to continue the call to respect one another no matter their position in life.
Attendees strained to keep the candles alight in the summer wind. A booth to register to vote stood on one side of the impromptu podium and a picture of Heather Heyer, one of the victims of the attack, was on the other, surrounded by candles.
The vigil was a 30-minute event. Following an two-minute moment of silence for the victims of hate, the gathering was asked to meet one new person in the crowd to converse with them and learn about them.
“We’re all still standing up, we’re all still showing up, and we’re all still supporting each other,” said Sara Patenaude, Co-Founder of Hate Free Decatur said. “This is not just about Charlottesville, this is about white supremacy and the attack on our diversity and the very basic rights on our country.”
Twenty-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, was arrested for the crimes and has been awaiting trial for first-degree murder, five counts of malicious wounding, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding, and failing to stop at the scene of a crash, Richmond.com reported.
Fields allegedly drove a car into a crowd of anti-white nationalist protesters. Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was crossing the street, was killed and 16 others were injured, the Associated Press confirmed with hospital officials. Altogether 35 people were treated for injuries.
The coalition of organizations stated they had several plans in the works for future events, working together and individually.