Long Beach Locals Hold Vigil for Heather Heyer, Victim of Charlottesville Rally Car Attack


Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Kennedy.

Long Beach locals gathered at Harvey Milk Park Sunday to remember Heather Heyer, a woman killed while counter-protesting a white nationalist march over the weekend, and to stand in solidarity with her denouncement of all types of discrimination.

White nationalists, white supremacists, the Klu Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other far-right groups gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday to “Unite the Right” and oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park..

The march was met with counter-protests, and in the violence that ensued at least 34 people were wounded and three killed. Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia declared a state of emergency, the New York Times reported.

Saturday’s rally turned deadly when James Alex Fields Jr, a 20-year-old Ohio man thought to be a white supremacist, drove his car into a line of counter-protesters packed into an intersection. Heyer, a 32-year-old woman and Charlottesville paralegal, was killed and 19 others were wounded.

Two Virginia state troopers also died in a helicopter crash related to the rally.

People gathered the next day to deliver candles, sympathy notes and flowers to the site where Heyer died, according to NPR

In Long Beach, signs reading “make America human again”, “Remember Heather Heyer—continue her fight against injustice” and also quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” were carried by participants at the Sunday vigil. Organized by Indivisible LBC, part of a nationwide network of groups resisting President Donald Trump’s agenda, the #StandWithCharlottesville gathering in Long Beach took place the same day an estimated 1,500 people rallied outside of Los Angeles City Hall, also in protest of Saturday’s violence.

The downtown Los Angeles protest became a march just after 2:00PM and moved east on Temple Street to Olvera Street, then into Little Tokyo and back up 1st Street to City Hall, with participants shouting slogans and carrying posters accusing the Virginia rally of having racist intentions and alleging Trump failed to condemn the rally’s organizers, who one day before had won a court battle to hold it. Los Angeles police shut down half the street for protesters to walk.

The gathering at Harvey Milk Park in Long Beach was a small but moving show of solidarity with Charlottesville counter-protesters. It was a stand against the right-wing extremism, white nationalism and white supremacy behind the rally, all movements that are on the rise according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the New York Times reported.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.