PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — About 2,000 people held a vigil and rallied late into the evening to stand in solidarity with the people in Charlottesville protesting against the white supremacists who converged on their town.
“It stops now!” shouted one of the first speakers to a packed Paine Plaza.
From religious and political groups, to social equality organizations, Sunday night’s protest brought out people from all backgrounds.
The crowd lit candles to stand in contrast to the torches carried by white supremacists in Charlottesville. Event organizers like Vashti Bandy said the main message was to show that “Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the United States does not accept the KKK, bigots and Nazis.”
“We’re coming together as a community and as a city to very firmly condemn and push back against the horrific attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia,” said Alexandra Gunnison
The vigil and rally included Mark Tinkleman, who had just returned from Charlottesville, and told stories of hate groups roaming the streets by night looking for people to beat up.
He went to Virginia with the group Refuse Fascism.
“Yesterday after the attack (where a man rammed into a crowd of people standing up to the white supremacists), we got together with the people close to us and said: ‘We’re not going to intimidated by this,’” Tinkleman said. “At that point, we didn’t know someone had died, but we were not going to be intimidated.”
Many of the speakers also point the finger of blame not just at the hate groups in Charlottesville, but also at American society and anyone who stands idly by.
“We’re here to come together with peace and hope for a united future. Hate will not win, love is going to triumph,” said Beth Finn.
Attendees said it’s a shame they still have to unite for this cause, but will gladly do it until they no longer need to.
“We have the backs of people who are being singled out and oppressed,” Rebekkah Dorris said.
Dozens of Philadelphia Police Officers were present at the rally, though nothing got out of hand.