Hundreds flock to Springfield vigil to stand against hate, racism

More than 250 people attended a vigil in downtown Springfield in light of recent events in Charlottesville, Va., that saw three people die amid violent protests.

Several local leaders from different backgrounds spoke out about the hatred seen during the white supremacist rallies in Virginia — and stressed Springfield won’t stand for racism and inequality — as part of Indivisible Springfield’s Standing in Solidarity against Hate vigil held at the downtown Esplanade on Wednesday evening.

RELATED: Springfield mayor speaks out about Charlottesville violence

Several Springfield rally-goers brought homemade signs, including one that read “Love Above Hate” and another that had an anti-Nazi symbol and read “Black Lives Matter.”

Springfield won’t stand for a racial divide, NAACP Springfield Chapter President Denise Williams said.

“We’re not in the ’60s any more,” Williams said. “We’re not tolerating it. Our purposes have come together as one … We won’t stand for this.”

There’s no room in Springfield for hate groups such as white supremacists, she said. Springfield must come together to fight inequality, Williams said.

“I don’t care what color you are, I don’t care who you love, I don’t care what faith,” Williams said. “God is going to handle all of this, but we have to stand together as one.”

RELATED: Group to host vigil in Springfield after Charlottesville violence

Racism and religious intolerance is wrong, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland told the crowd.

“There is no moral equivalence between standing for racial, religious freedom and equality and those who seek to teach hatred,” Copeland said.

A person should feel valued no matter who they are or where they come from, said Springfield resident Sana Ahmed, a local teacher who spoke as a representative of the Miami valley Islamic Association.

“We have a lot of work to do, so let’s all work to continue educating one another and to continue spreading love and unity,” Ahmed said. “Let’s show this world that despite our differences we will still be united for the sake of humanity and treat each other with kindness.”

A Unite the Right rally was held last weekend in the Virginia city where a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has long been a point of contention. Rally participants, including white supremacists, members of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, fought with counter protesters.

RELATED: Hate groups in Ohio: Who are they, and where do they operate?

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio has been charged with murder and other counts after police alleged he was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a woman and injured 19 others. Two police pilots also died when their helicopter crashed during a patrol.

The diverse turnout was great, said organizer Brad Minerd, a member of Indivisible Springfield, a grassroots organization that hosted the vigil. The organization describes its mission as resisting racism and corruption in government.

“This is indicative of what our community is,” he said. “Our community is not going to stand for racism and hatred.”

Springfield needs more of these events, resident Bernard Lenoir said after the event. He wants to see more focus on ending crime in the city, he said.

“It was great, really great,” Lenoir said. “We need more of these. Black-on-black crime needs to stop. Everybody needs to come to peace.”

At the end of the event, the crowd held hands and Williams led the singing of the gospel song, “This Little Light of Mine.”

“We are a city united,” Williams said. “We are not a city divided.”


Child allegedly found running naked in traffic, parents charged

Springfield man accused of hiding drugs in pants during stop

New Carlisle, Clark County library work to resolve money dispute

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Springfield urges use of licensed contractors after complaints
Springfield urges use of licensed contractors after complaints

The city of Springfield urges residents to use reliable, licensed contractors after receiving complaints about unlicensed businesses advertising on social media. Within the past week, a number of posts on Facebook Marketplace were posted about furnaces and air conditioning sales and installation services in Springfield, said Shannon Meadows, the city&rsquo...
Marsy’s Law could be problematic for Clark County judicial system
Marsy’s Law could be problematic for Clark County judicial system

A new statewide law approved by voters last year providing more rights to victims of crimes may have an impact on the local court system, Clark County officials said. MORE: Ohio may crack down on prostitution to fight opioid crisis The new law, which came into effect on Feb. 5, gives victims or anyone harmed by a crime the right to receive notifications...
Envelope with white powder sent to Sen. Portman’s office
Envelope with white powder sent to Sen. Portman’s office

Hazmat crews are testing white powder that was on an envelope received at U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s office in Columbus on Friday, according to 10TV . RELATED: Vanessa Trump taken to hospital after white powder scare Crews were called to 37 West Broad Street in downtown Columbus just before 4.p.m. Friday. Battalion Chief Steve Martin said the...
Retired Centerville police chief focus of investigation
Retired Centerville police chief focus of investigation

Centerville police chief Bruce Robertson’s recent retirement came amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of criminal conduct, according to city officials. “There were allegations of criminal conduct, therefore we’re following up with conducting an internal investigation into those allegations,” City Manager Wayne Davis...
Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation
Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation

Rick Gates, a former aide in President Donald Trump's campaign, pleaded guilty to making false statements and conspiring against the United States on Friday, making him the fifth person to enter a guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
More Stories