By Tia Lynn Ivey
The sound of hymns amidst soft candlelight could be heard Saturday evening in Town Park. About 30 people showed up for a candlelight vigil in response to the violence perpetrated by white supremacists during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.
“We are a group of concerned citizens of Morgan County, Georgia, holding a peaceful candlelight vigil in a show of solidarity with the community of Charlottesville, Virginia,” said Terry Reeves of Rutledge, who orchestrated the event. “The family of Heather Heyer, other victims of the horrific violence in Charlottesville, and other peaceful demonstrators all across our country who oppose the domestic terrorism and hateful acts of the United Right, the KKK, the Alt-Right, and White Supremacists. Reeves started a private group called the East Georgia Pantsuit Activists last year, a private group with most of its members wishing to remain anonymous due to their left-leaning political beliefs and “aggressive Trump supporters.”
“Some people are afraid if they speak up they will lose their jobs,” explained Reeves. “So I started this groups so we could have each other because it can be lonely in this sea of red,” said Reeves of the political climate in Morgan County.
“But because of all the recent events happening, we wanted to get offline and come out and do something.”
Participants in the vigil circled Town Park twice as they sang hymns and patriotic songs before returning to the stage at Town Park.
“We will not tolerate hate, we will not tolerate racism, we will not tolerate discrimination, love trumps hate,” chanted the crowd.
Organizers of the event encouraged the crowd to stay in contact with their local elected representatives to make their voices heard.
“We have to keep talking to our representatives,” said Reeves. “Otherwise they can rightly say they aren’t hearing from their constituents about the issues that matter to us.”
Jeanne DuFort, who also helped organize the event, marched while wearing a banner that read, “Equality is a Family Value.”
“I have always been active off and on, but this is about the rise of racism in our country and I thought we should all come together and say we do not stand for that,” said DuFort. “We have to do this and keep talking to one another and reaching out to each other and loving each other. That’s how you change the world, isn’t it?”