Fountain Park Vigil Honors Charlottesville Victims

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An estimated 300 residents gathered in Chestertown’s Fountain Park Wednesday evening in a vigil to remember victims of violence in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend. The vigil drew residents of all ages, from a nine-month-old baby to retirees, ministers and Washington College students and professors, and others from all over the county.

Called together by Indivisible of Kent and Queen Anne’s County, attendees sang, lit candles, and heard excerpts from the writings of Heather Heyer, Rep, Kamala Harris of California, and others. Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured when a car slammed into a crowd gathered to protest white supremacist marchers who came to the city. A young man from Ohio, identified as the driver of the car, has been charged with second-degree murder. He was allegedly one of the so-called “alt-right” marchers who came to Charlottesville to protest removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

The vigil began at 6 p.m when Erin Anderson, one of the leaders of the local Indivisible group, gave a brief description of the group’s origins and purpose. She said the purpose of the groups is to oppose hate and violence. She quoted Hayer’s mother who said, “They tried to kill Heather to shut her up, but they just magnified her.”

Speakers read inspirational selections from several authors.

Kitty Maynard, another of the Indivisible leaders, asked attendees to look around the crowd and greet someone they didn’t know. This  acted as an icebreaker and there was a short buzz of conversation and laughter as people introduced themselves to each other.  She said that Indivisible will not tolerate white supremacy, Nazis or other hate groups. “Hate has no  home here,” she said.  “Love wins; mutual respect wins; democracy wins.”

After a short series of readings, Indivisible members passed out candles which attendees lit and passed along. Members of the Chester River Chorale then led the singing of “America the Beautiful,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

The vigil was peaceful and low-key with no disturbances. There was no visible uniformed police presence. Only one sign was displayed.  While there were a few occasional on-lookers, there was no organized opposition.  As the organizers said, this was a vigil in honor of the victims of violence and in solidarity with the citizens of Charlottesville.

A long moment of silence concluded the scheduled ceremonies, after which Maynard invited participants to stay and converse.   Most of the crowd did so; the last participants left at around 7:30.

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Letters to Editor

  1. Barbara in den Bosch says:

    Sorry I couldn’t be there

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