Candlelight vigil held in San Diego after deadly Charlottesville protests

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Close to 1,000 peaceful demonstrators gathered for a unity vigil in front of the San Diego County Administration Building in the largest of several local gatherings to pay homage to those killed and injured over the weekend in connection with clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, was one of those who spoke at the vigil Sunday night outside the county building. He honored Heather Heyer, the 32-year- old woman killed when a white nationalist drove into a crowd of counter- protestors Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville.

"It wears us out, but it is not over,” he said of the fight against hate and bigotry. "We have to continue to fight … be awake, be aware, be engaged, be present, because we have work to do.”

Those gathered at the vigil held candles, displayed signs and joined in the singing of "We Shall Overcome.” Also featured was a choir singing Tracy Chapman’s 1988 protest song, "Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution.”

Earlier Sunday, demonstrators gathered at Cottonwood Creek Park in Encinitas to call for peace and unity and honor Heyer and those injured in the crash.

On Saturday night, local members of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union and other left-wing and socialist groups gathered in El Cajon to honor Heyer, who was a member of the IWW.

Yesenia Padilla, a member of the San Diego chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and the Democratic Autonomy Federation, told ABC10 that the killing of Heyer by a suspected white nationalist is "chilling” and "terrifying.”

"We will not stand for this, we will not stand for (Ku Klux Klan), for Nazis to overrun us,” Padilla told the television station. "Members of the left peacefully protesting were murdered (Saturday) by white supremacists.”

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder in Heyer’s death, police said. He was also charged with three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at the scene of a crash that resulted in a death.

A photograph earlier in the day appeared to show Fields, dressed in a white polo shirt like others attending the "Unite the Right” rally, holding a shield with symbols of Vanguard America. According to the New York Times, that group’s manifesto declares "a government based in the natural law must not
cater to the false notion of equality.” The organization denied any ties to Fields.

Categories: Local San Diego News