Citizens of Maumee and the surrounding area rallied together last week to protest white supremacy just two days after an attack in Charlottesville, Virginia by James Alex Fields Jr. Fields, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder in Virginia for allegedly driving his car into a crowd of counter-protesters Aug. 10 at a white nationalist rally, killing one and injuring 19 others.
Between 350 and 400 demonstrators marched Aug. 12 at 8 p.m. from the Maumee Public Library to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to show solidarity for the residents of Charlottesville, Virginia.
The march was just a few miles from the residence of James Alex Fields Jr.
Veralucia Mendoza, one of the event organizers, said that their march was a “collective response to a killer coming to national light from our hometown.”
“We are saddened by his actions, shaken by the Nazis and KKK finding a platform for hatred,” Mendoza said. “We are the counterparts, ones who are angry for the disrespect of autonomy and livelihood.”
People showed up with signs that read, “love wins,” “end white supremacism,” “black lives matter” and “racism kills.” As the crowd marched from the library to the church, they chanted, “No hate, no KKK, no racist USA.”
“It’s important to have a collective voice,” Mendoza said.
The rally lasted an hour and a half once the marchers were gathered on the front lawn of the church.
Event organizers asked attendees to physically form a circle around “people of color” and other marginalized people to create a safe space for them to share during an open-mic time.
Emily Aguilar, an event organizer, said this was a time for POC to share, although some white allies shared as well.
“A lot of it was an expression of ideas, how we can each do our part and why it matters, particularly for white folk,” she said.
Mendoza added that it was a time for POC to be open, vulnerable and to send out a call to action, and it was “cathartic and beautiful.”
“A lot of anger and desperation was let out, a lot of exasperation,” Mendoza said. “People are tired of being afraid merely because of the skin they’re in.”
Aguilar said that the purpose of the event as a whole was “to acknowledge that white supremacy exists in our community and in all communities across the nation and to acknowledge the role of allies to work against it.”
When asked if she will be organizing more marches like this one, Aguilar said, “As long as white supremacy exists, yes. We all should.”