After Charlottesville, Loudouners Hold Vigil

Dozens of people gathered at the historic courthouse steps in Leesburg on Sunday for a vigil turned rally in the wake of the protests, demonstrations, violence, and death ahead of a planned “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Saturday.

At the vigil, Loudoun County Democratic Committee Vice Chairman Randy Ihara, who organized the rally, told stories of being harassed and threatened by the KKK as a labor organizer in the ’60s, and said “we can’t allow this sort of thing to happen again.”

“I’ve seen this happen, and I’ve been on the wrong end of those guns, and we’ve got to stop that from happening,” Ihara told the vigil crowd. “Martin Luther King said the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice, and the reason he said that was because of people like you.”

The “Unite the Right” rally was planned for noon, but by 11:30 a.m., violent clashes between swastika- and Confederate flag-bearing protestors and counter-protestors prompted Charlottesville and Albemarle County officials to declare a state of emergency, later declaring the rally an illegal assembly.

One woman was killed and 19 other people injured when a car from Ohio plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors. Police have charged a 20-year-old man from Ohio with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run.

Loudoun NAACP President Phillip Thompson said the violence in Charlottesville was “sad, but it had to happen.”

Loudoun County Democratic Committee Vice Chairman Randy Ihara. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

“Every once in a while in America, we gotta see this, just like people had tos ee the hoses get turned on the black of people of Alabama,” Thompson said. “We had to see it before we finally opened up our eyes and said, whoa, this is what we’re up against.”

Thompson also turned the occasion into a political rallying cry.

“If you don’t get out and work, if you don’t get out and support, this is what you’re going to get,” Thompson said. “This is what you’re going to see. You’re going to see hate in the White House, you’re going to see hate out here.”

A vigil following the violence in Charlottesville met in the shadow of a Confederate monument at the Leesburg courthouse. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

8 thoughts on “After Charlottesville, Loudouners Hold Vigil

  • 2017-08-13 at 7:44 pm
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    Thompson just could not hold back and attacked the President. The President does not hate. Maybe it is you, Thompson that is looking for hate. Maybe it is you, Thompson that is looking to divide and draw attention to yourself. What happened yesterday is shameful but certainly Democrats focus the blame on the President. Why? For a political advantage? Because they can’t win an election on fresh, new ideas? Where was Thompson when the Black Lives Matter movement was calling out police and fanning the flames of violence against them. Not a word. A simple reflection was appropriate but Thompson and Supervisor Umstattd made it more about politics and not reflection. Typical and predictable of these two making it more about THEM and not about the despicable act yesterday. Political opportunists.

  • 2017-08-14 at 2:23 pm
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    So, where is the Loudoun County Republican Committee’s response to the events that took place in Charlottesville this weekend? Silence speaks louder than words. When will the leadership of the Loudoun County Republican Committee speak out and confront these hate groups.

  • 2017-08-14 at 5:52 pm
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    “NAACP President Phillip Thompson said the violence in Charlottesville was “sad, but it had to happen.”

    No Mr. Thompson. Maybe for you it does, but for most people violence never has to happen. I’m certain you wouldn’t tell the families of that young woman and two state troopers that their deaths ‘had to happen’ to their faces. An extremely poor choice of words on your part. Seek forgiveness.

    I’ve always believed that by now, in 2017, we’d all be beyond the race hustling, the pitting of one group of citizens against another in order to achieve the questionable political aims of others, but some people insist on turning back the clock.

    It’s pretty obvious somebody paid for Charlottesville. Mass amounts of out-of staters who were looking for violence no matter what. Somebody is behind rounding up a 100 neo-nazis, or whatever they’re called, out of a country of 320 million. And somebody is behind the left wing anarchist professional rent-a-mob who descended in droves. Here’s hoping the FBI investigation reveals the money trail and leads right back to those who are funding violence. Always, always, follow the money.

    I also want to know who told the police and state troopers to stand down and let it go? Virginia State Troopers don’t walk away for anyone or anything– Somebody in authority told them to step back. Hopefully the investigation will reveal that person, or persons names, and they’ll be held to account.

    • 2017-08-15 at 9:16 am
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      “Somebody is behind rounding up a 100 neo-nazis, or whatever they’re called, out of a country of 320 million. And somebody is behind the left wing anarchist professional rent-a-mob who descended in droves”.
      >His name is Donald Trump.

  • 2017-08-15 at 10:35 am
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    Nah, it’s W. fault. My mower dumped it’s main seal the other days. That’s Trump’s fault…

  • 2017-08-20 at 1:59 pm
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    To have made a bigger statement maybe they should of worn their pussycat ears.

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