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Tragedy in Charlottesville

Friends+and+family+gather+to+mourn+the+death+of+Heather+Heyes+in+Charlottesville%2C+VA+
Friends and family gather to mourn the death of Heather Heyes in Charlottesville, VA

Friends and family gather to mourn the death of Heather Heyes in Charlottesville, VA

Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post

Friends and family gather to mourn the death of Heather Heyes in Charlottesville, VA

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On Saturday Aug. 12, Heather Heyes was hit and killed by a car in Charlottesville, VA during a “Unite The Right” rally that quickly turned deadly. Those who supported “Unite the Right” and those who opposed the rally clashed in what was described as one of the largest white supremacist movements in recent U.S. history.

“Many people including myself were previously in denial of the fact that this kind of evil still resides on American soil. The events in Charlottesville ought to serve as a wakeup call to our government and society that these issues are unfortunately still prevalent and need to be taken care of. Marches like this would not be happening in a country that truly values individuality and celebrates minorities and differences. America has always been a melting pot and it is our responsibility to make sure it remains that way,” said sophomore Alyssa Rojas.

The drama of the event actually began the night before. On Friday Aug. 11, marchers descended from the University of Virginia carrying torches and chanting phrases such as “white lives matter” and “blood and soil.”

The next day the marchers united again but this time in Lee Park in response to the removal of General Robert E. Lee’s statue. Soon after arrival, counter-demonstrators came to the rally, the two groups broke into madness. At 11:28 am, the city of Charlottesville and the county of Albemarle declared a local state emergency.

At 1:42 p.m., James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his car into anti-racist protestor Heyes. After hitting and killing her, the car sped away from the scene. When the police tracked down and stopped Fields, he was charged with second-degree murder.

After the tragic hit-and-run, a police helicopter crashed while on its way to the rally on Saturday. The crash killed two state troopers, Lieutenant Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. In all, three people died and 35 were injured. Nineteen of the injuries were confirmed by the hospital in Charlottesville.

In response to the events that took place in Charlottesville, citizens all over the country have been taking part in mourning the victims of the attack by leaving candles, flowers and prayers for loved ones and people harmed in the rally. People are also angry about what the rally stood for and about the response from the government.

“I feel that what happened is absolutely disgusting and one of the strongest examples we have today of the rise of anti-Semitism and racism in the U.S. The fact that the people gathered there were chanting things like ‘Jews will not replace us’ and the police did nothing, meaning many of the people there face no consequences for their bigotry makes things even worse. By refusing to take action, the U.S. government has shown its unacceptable tolerance for racism, and I think that is quite horrifying,” said freshman Shannon Brown.

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Tragedy in Charlottesville