CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “We simply can’t have people who think it’s okay to kill people over an idea.”
That’s why these people rallied to show support. After yesterday’s violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors in Virginia — people in central Illinois are standing in solidarity with the victims.
32 year-old Heather Heyer was killed after a car plowed through a crowd, and dozens more were hurt.
People who spoke at a rally in Champaign say they’re worried about the direction the country is going.
Central Illinois is almost 700 miles away from Charlottesville, but the events that unfolded yesterday still hit home for many people here. They say that’s why today’s rally was important.
“What brought you out today?”
“It”s too hot for snowflakes.”
“People like him. the man who just walked past and called me a snowflake is what brought me out today.”
Comments from across the aisle — people here say they’re fueling problems in America.
“The reasons that drive people to go out with tiki torches and drive into crowds exist in every corner of this country, there’s nowhere that hasn’t been affected by people growing up in a racist society.”
Sue Feldman says she’s made it her mission to connect with others.
“I think somewhere along the line in the last decade we have totally forgotten to listen, and everyone’s clamoring to be heard. Seventy years ago half of my people died, and it started just like this. To me, never again means never again for anyone.”
White supremacists and neo-nazi rallies in the U.S. are shocking to many here, including Michael Leyerle. His father fought in WWII, and he never thought he would see this ideology surface on this level.
“It was just so horrendous. I was flabbergasted that that was allowed to go on. I don’t know how something like that happens in this day and age.”
And they say rallies like the one today are just the beginning.
“Hopefully this will inspire quiet conversations later, and it’s through those conversations that people grow.”
“We still haven’t fixed racism, we’ve still got work to do.”
There were other gatherings that took place in central Illinois today, including a vigil in Macon County. People are hoping these rallies spark new conversation.
Four people were arrested in Charlottesville, including 20 year-old James Alex Fields. Fields is charged with second-degree murder for slamming his car into a group of protestors. Dozens of people were hurt.