They were visible only to those who looked up: A few dozen people, holding candles, gathered at the top of a hill in downtown Minneapolis’ Gold Medal Park.
The group came together for what was dubbed a Solidarity Vigil and Rally for Charlottesville, Va., the college town that overnight became the site of violent confrontations stemming from a white nationalist rally.
On Saturday, a car plowed into a crowd of counterdemonstrators, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others. The event at Gold Medal Park on Saturday night came together quickly, in recognition of the victims.
“Someone was killed in Charlottesville protesting white supremacists who were able to throw a National Day of Unity for white supremacy,” said Corydon Nilsson, 31, one of the organizers of the event at Gold Medal Park. “We felt that it was equally important to show resistance in the Twin Cities.”
Gathered at the top of the hill, attendees held signs that read “Solidarity against hate + violence.” Some addressed the crowd to talk about their own experiences with racism, and to discuss next steps after this day and this vigil were over.
Nilsson said while the events in Charlottesville might seem far away, it’s important to remember that similar violence has occurred in the Twin Cities — in the bombing of a Bloomington mosque a week ago, or the white supremacists who shot protesters outside Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct following the death of Jamar Clark.
“People who think it can’t happen in Minnesota — it has happened, and it will continue to happen if we don’t unite,” Nilsson said. “If white supremacists are having a National Day of Unity, we need to have a bigger one.”
Local activists have scheduled another vigil for Sunday night at Lake Calhoun.