The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Photos: Chicagoans Hold Vigil For Charlottesville Victims, Denounce 'Vile White Terrorism'

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 14, 2017 3:50PM

Hundreds turned out to Federal Plaza Sunday evening for a vigil to show solidarity with and mourn the tragic attack on demonstrators by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

“We have lost lives once more to senseless, vile white terrorism. That is exactly what this is: white terrorism,” said Mrinalini Chakraborty, head of field operations for the Women’s March Network, who helped organize the vigil. “When torch bearing klansmen gather in broad daylight without any fear of consequences I cannot put into words my anger that I feel at how this will trigger so many of my friends in black and brown communities.”

The vigil came after several other actions took place in Chicago, which showed support for the victims of multiple attacks on counter demonstrators who opposed a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. The rally was hosted and attended by several far-right, white supremacist and other fascist groups. Dozens were injured in several melees and one woman was killed after a man drove a vehicle through a crowd of demonstrators. The alleged driver James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, was seen sporting white-supremacist regalia.

Demonstrators gathered in Federal Plaza for a vigil for the victims of a nazi attack on counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

Trump Tower was the focal point of many of the actions, as the President was roundly criticized for a statement that barely criticized white supremacists and instead blamed “many sides” for the violence. Additionally, many who organized and participated in demonstrations blamed the Trump administration for emboldening the rising tide of fascism and white supremacist violence.

A small group of people gathered Saturday evening for a candlelight vigil, which was followed by two rallies and a march through the Loop Sunday afternoon where hundreds converged on Trump Tower in succession. Ahead of the evening vigil, which took place in Federal Plaza on Sunday, attendees chalked messages such as “give peace a chance,” “love wins,” and “white silence is violence” on the concrete while organizers handed out flowers to people as they arrived.

Moving forward, speakers encouraged people to take their thoughts and feelings with them back into their communities as they left, and to challenge racism, fascism and oppression wherever they find it. "I'm here to ask you what are you willing to sacrifice...Too many of us have allowed individuals to just be how they are,” one speaker told the crowd.

“We know white supremacy and white terrorism is the leading cause of death when you think about terrorism in this country,” said Kofi Ademola of Black Lives Matter. “It’s not Muslims, it’s not black people. We have to struggle with these conditions and we have to do things that are going to put us in a position to fight back against it. Not just show up in rallies like this so we can feel good and console and comfort ourselves, but really go back into our homes, to our places of work, to our schools and challenge these institutions of oppression.”

An interfaith service is scheduled for noon on Monday at Federal Plaza.

Flowers left during a vigil in Federal Plaza for the victims of the nazi attack on counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo by Aaron Cynic.