David Sharos / The Beacon-News, August 19, 2017
The ripple effects from last weekend's
violence in Charlottesville, Va., are being felt across the country, as well as
right here in Aurora.
A week after a car sped into a crowd of
protesters at a white nationalist rally, a much more peaceful event was held in
Aurora against violence.
"We need to stand up and be
counted, and stand against the voices on social media and show the perpetrators
of violence that a small number of people can be larger," said Shoaib
Khadri, president of the Islamic Center of Naperville, at an anti-violence
rally at Peace Park in Aurora.
Speakers were followed by a peace walk
along River Street to Downer Place, Broadway and New York Street before ending
back at the park.
Executive director for the YWCA Aurora
Melissa Nigro said she has received "a lot of calls, emails and Facebook
postings since last week" and that "we felt we needed to take some
kind of action following the Charlottesville events."
"We've been talking to other
national organizations throughout the country this week, and we decided a peace
vigil was needed for us to come together and show solidarity for those who are
suffering as well as all of us impacted by these extremist events," Nigro
said. "Other organizations are having similar events as there has been a
national call to action."
Nigro said it was important to
"show solidarity and provide a contrast to the violence."
"The imagery of torches, the
chanting and the violence were disturbing," Nigro said about the event in
Charlottesville. "We must trust people of color when they say that these
displays are indicative of daily racial injustices and threats that communities
of color continue to face."
Khadri said "it was appalling that
53 years after the Civil Rights Act we're still here talking about race."
"That's the bad news that we still
have this intolerance, but the good news is events like this and our voices can
be heard," he said.
Sharos / The Beacon-News
An anti-violence rally was held in downtown Aurora on Saturday.
The event was organized as a response to the violence last weekend in
State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia
(D-Aurora) spoke before the walk and said President Donald Trump needs to set
"We'll see what happens at the congressional
level, but I feel we've diminished the highest elected official by his becoming
a CEO, which is not the people we are when we say, 'We the People,'" she
said. "We have the ability to eliminate racism and the young people need
to see us as role models so they can stand on our shoulders and touch the
Those in attendance ranged from senior
citizens to youngsters like Addison Faber, 9, of North Aurora, who came with
her father Christopher Faber, who said he felt it was important "to stand
"We need to be united against
racism, and in general, I think this sends a good message for my daughter to
see this and be a part of it," Christopher Faber said. "It's good
that my daughter goes to school with a lot of diversity and different nationalities.
No one is born racist – you have to be exposed to it."
Addison admitted she has a diverse
group of friends and that her mother told her "to stand up for them."
"People in this country have anger
issues and just don't accept differences," she said.
Helane Aghayere of Aurora said "we
have a long way to go before we become united" and that too many people
make judgments based on what they see.
"It all starts with the eyes and
people see things and begin to judge, and because of the history we have and
things in social media, we keep imprinting the young kids," she said.
Zachary Draves, who attends Aurora
University, said he wanted to be present Saturday because he has "a
passion regarding inequality and justice."
"I've been at events like this
before, and as a nation that is diverse and multi-cultural, this is an attack
against all of us," Draves said about Charlottesville. "What I get
out of things like this is I'm really committed to justice and equality and
you're with people that are the same way. It gives me fulfillment and makes a