Victims of violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia are being remembered at a vigil in Mississippi's Capital City. MPB's Ezra Wall reports.
Religious leaders, community organizations and citizens held candles and spoke out in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville Sunday night in Jackson. The Virginia city over the weekend was the site of vitriolic demonstrations by a collection of racist groups, ending in the death of one woman when a car was driven directly into a group of counter-protestors. At the rainy Jackson vigil Sunday night, Rachel Glazer, who is Jewish, says neo-Nazi language and insignia make her afraid. She tells people to prepare for hard work ahead.
"We can't just pray; we have to make sure that our prayers are full of action," says Glazer. "Rabbi Heschel also said, 'In any free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, all are responsible.'"
With Mississippi's unique connection to its own racist past, many of the people gathered thought it important that Mississippians speak out against white supremacy. Bishop James Swanson leads the United Methodist Church in Mississippi. As an African-American child, Swanson says he used to think of a time when race would not matter.
"2017 I would have thought, as a kid, by the time we reached here I would never see anything like this again. I'm tired," says Swanson. "But I'm not too tired to keep fighting for justice, and I'm not too tired to keep telling people that God wants us to be a loving community."
But, says Bishop Swanson, he looks forward to the future.
"Look, I'm the bishop of a predominantly white denomination in Mississippi, man," says Swanson. "You mean to tell me I'm not hopeful? Yes, I am!"
About a hundred people gathered for the candlelight vigil.