CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ― A new light illuminated Charlottesville on Wednesday, when thousands of people assembled on the University of Virginia campus for a candlelight vigil. The peaceful gathering was in protest of the weekend violence that broke out after white supremacists stormed the campus with Tiki torches.
Demonstrators on Wednesday swayed with their candles as they sang, “This Little Light of Mine” and the American classic “This Land Is Your Land.” At one point, people chanted, “Love wins!” After the vigil ended, a group chanted, “Black Lives Matter.”
Brandy Mokhtar, a Richmond resident who graduated from UVA in 1996, said she felt “compelled” to be a part of the candlelight vigil. She said she wanted to help “cleanse and wash away all the hatred that was spread across the grounds.”
Mokhtar said UVA is “a very safe place,” where violence is out of place. Mokhtar, who is black, said the school had its share of controversies during her time, but UVA responded well and she had a wonderful college experience.
“I wanted to make sure that other students coming here in the next couple of days, the next couple of weeks, and also those who were considering coming to the university felt like they could have that experience as well,” Mokhtar said.
Wednesday’s vigil followed a memorial earlier in the day for 32-year-old Heather Heyer, a counter-protester who was killed during Saturday’s clash that also injured at least 19. Two state troopers assigned to the mayhem died in a helicopter crash.
See the display of hope and calm as protesters raised their candles at the UVA candlelight vigil below.
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