Hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn on Sunday to denounce yesterday's spate of neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and to show solidarity with the counterprotesters who risked their lives to confront the white supremacists.
Initially planned as an anti-war protest against nuclear proliferation, the "Peace And Sanity" rally began with a moment of silence for Heather Hayer, a 32-year-old woman who was murdered Sunday after a driver plowed into a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators. In Brooklyn, protesters carried signs reading "White Supremacists F-ck Off" and "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention"—a reference to Hayer's last Facebook post before her death.
— Joe Berkowitz (@JoeBerkowitz) August 13, 2017
The rally also featured speeches from several progressive New York City politicians, including Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and a handful city councilmembers. "How dare they march in an American city," said Public Advocate Tish James. "How dare this president condone it."
On Saturday, the president provoked bipartisan outrage after refusing to disavow the white nationalists who attended the rally. Instead, he condemned the "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," and added, "What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order."
Other city representatives also seized on Trump's non-committal comments, and emphasized the importance of elevating minority voices in response to an administration seemingly unwilling to distance itself from white supremacists.
"One thing both [City Councilmembers] Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams noted was that it was a mostly white crowd in a mostly white part of Brooklyn, and that it was important for white people to say Black Lives Matter, which we then chanted," said Brooklyn resident David Klion. "I thought that was great."
Today's rally followed an emergency vigil in Union Square on Saturday organized by Black Lives Matter. At least five other anti-racist rallies have been planned around the city in the next few days, including marches to Trump Tower on both Sunday and Monday afternoon. President Trump is expected to spend four days at his midtown tower—his first real homecoming since taking office—beginning later today.
this whole group said that they were "disgusted" with trump's response to the violence in Virginia pic.twitter.com/5IjuV3RB57
— Remy Smidt (@remysmidt) August 13, 2017
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. Right now. pic.twitter.com/bIfQevYvxU
— melissa (@fatgirlinohio) August 13, 2017