• 61°

‘Love trumps hate:’ Vigil remembers Charlottesville

By Rebecca Rider
rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The steady thump of drumbeats and jingle of tambourines echoed on Depot Street Saturday evening. Tucked away in the small, green corner of Gateway Park, members of Salisbury Indivisible and Women for Community Justice gave voice — and song — to the pain and hope they felt in the wake of Aug. 12’s tragic events in Charlottesville, Va.

“We hope that this gathering’s going to be very organic to help with the healing process,” Al Heggins, organizer and member of Salisbury Indivisible, said.

The vigil was in honor of Heather Heyer, 32, who was killed when a vehicle mowed down counter protestors last Saturday. Heggins said the vigil was also for “all the just fighters who have lost their lives” in the long fight for equality and equity.

“It’s all very present to us right now,” she said.

But the roughly 30 people attending the vigil weren’t just members of Salisbury Indivisible — they came from all backgrounds, for all reasons. Some even drove up from Concord or Kannapolis to take part. The group, though small, was no less determined to speak hope and positivity into the future of Salisbury, Rowan County and North Carolina.

They gathered in a loose circle, holding lit candles, singing and taking turns to share what they thought of Charlottesville and the recent boldness of white supremacists and hate crimes. But despite expressing their fear and worry, they were also determined to push forward.

“A lot of negativity has been going on,” Allison Parker said, “and love trumps hate.”

Parker stood with her mother, Leslie Parker, holding a sign depicting a white dove carrying an olive branch.

According to Parker, Salisbury Indivisible wanted to “move to action” to “instill hope and positivity.”

“We just want to stand as a united front,” she said.

Inside the circle, Heggins echoed Parker’s comment.

“I’m really just one of those people who believes that love will prevail,” she told the group.

One by one, those attending stepped into the circle and shared their thoughts on Charlottesville and racism. Others told stories of times in their own lives when they had come face to face with white supremacy.

One man shared that his father had been a member of the KKK, and when he himself became a minister and spoke out against the klan a cross was burned in his front yard.

Heggins talked about her feelings about growing up as an African-American in the South, surrounded by the Confederate flag. She had known people, she said, who loved the flag. And because she loved them she “swallowed the bitterness” it made her feel. It wasn’t until later that she learned to speak out.

The group called for an end to the symbol — and others like it — and the oppressive history it represented. It was time, they said, to move forward as one.

“It’s time to let it go,” Laurel Harry said. “…It’s time to stop tolerating bigotry.”

Harry is also a 1988 alumni of the University of Virginia, where last weekend’s violence took place.

“It was very hard for me to see that hate on the lawn and the rotunda at UVA,” she said.

After she spoke, Harry taught the group the school’s cheer. And while the topics were heavy, spirits were high as the group sang “This Little Light of Mine,” “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” “Amazing Grace” and “We Shall Overcome.”

They also shared what brought them out to the vigil. For many, it was a desire to see people who would support them and fight for an end to bigotry. Others said that back in the 1960s, citizens had been “handed the baton” of the Civil Rights movement, and it was their job to see it through.

“Love will always win out over hate,” Heggins said.

 Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

Comments

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 positives reported at Piedmont Correctional

Crime

Blotter: Police respond to shots fired call outside of Salisbury home

Coronavirus

Rowan tied for fifth among counties for most COVID-19 deaths

Health

‘Nudge from God’: 10 years after diagnosis, Rockwell man to receive kidney from live donor

Crime

Salisbury police warn residents after increased trailer thefts

Education

Elon heightens alert as 32 test positive; Wake Forest in good shape to continue instruction as is

Cleveland

Corn picker catches fire at Knox Farm, destroying nearly eight acres

Nation/World

House easily passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown

News

Supreme Court vacancy looms large in 2nd NC Senate debate

Coronavirus

Additional COVID-19 death reported in Rowan; Cooper announces small business relief

Crime

Asheville man charged with heroin possession following traffic checkpoint

Education

Susan Cox conceding school board race, putting support behind opponent

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools will survey families, stakeholders about next superintendent

Local

Library to reopen for in-person visits Oct. 1

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office K-9s to receive bulletproof vests

Crime

Man charged with sex offense, raping teen

Business

Commissioners receive analysis of county’s development application process

Crime

Man arrested in Spencer in connection with Charlotte murder investigation

Local

County government losing assistant manager, social services director

Education

RSS will collect information on full K-5 return

Education

KCS sees smooth transition back to classes, unlikely to transition to all in-person for K-5

Nation/World

Barrett emerges as court favorite; Trump to pick by weekend

Local

Tillis says Trump will extend offshore drilling pause to NC

Coronavirus

12% of all Rowan COVID-19 cases currently active