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Elkins vigil supports Va. victims


The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS, W.Va.  — A small group of concerned citizens gathered Sunday for a vigil following the weekend’s violent clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left three dead.

Calling the local gathering “Stand Up for Love, Stand With Charlottesville,” co-organizer Mandy Weirich said the people involved wanted to talk about the victims and pray for them and their families following the tragic events.

“Really, we just wanted to challenge the hate, the violence, the racism,” she said Sunday evening, as the group of about 20 people held candles, sang songs such as “This Land Is Your Land,” and shared comments and prayers. One person held a sign that said, “Hate has no home here.”

She said the local vigil was one of about 700 events that were planned throughout the country, along with multiple gatherings set in West Virginia.

“No good ever comes from hate,” Weirich said. “Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, but when it turns to violence and terrorism … it has no place here.”

Another co-organizer, Cindy Stemple, said she appreciated everyone who attended the gathering on such short notice to stand up for peace and love.

“It’s nice to think of all those people and keep them in our hearts,” Stemple said of the victims and their families. “This is not a commentary on anything. We just want to come together. … We just want people to get along.”

She also said she hopes people with different opinions can share their ideas without spreading hate or violence.

“We have a little town, but we want our town to welcome everyone,” she said. “There’s been a lot of hateful rhetoric, and it just won’t do.”

Another peaceful gathering is scheduled today at 8:30 p.m. at the Upshur County Courthouse.

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