Local News

Durham parents bring kids to Charlottesville vigil to show 'we're not born hating'

Posted August 13

— Services in remembrance of the victims of Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. were held across North Carolina on Sunday, including a Vigil for Racial Justice and Equality in Durham.

The event was not the first in Durham to address racism and political tension, but there were more children in attendance than usual. Parents said they brought their young ones to show that both hatred and love are taught.

As the children were lifted by those who were bigger and stronger to get a better view, the hope was that what they see now will have a far reaching impact on what they do later.

“There are things that are too complex for him to understand at this point, but he can see people coming together. He can see people standing up,” said parent Jenn Vrieze

Understanding why people came out to show solidarity with the victims of the Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville means delving into conversations concerning racism, terrorism and political contention.

Parents who attended Sunday’s vigil said the children can understand the image of a friendly hug and the sounds of voices singing in harmony.

“Hatred is learned behavior. We’re not born hating each other, so any time we can set an example of what love looks like, what unity looks like, what justice looks like for our kids, I think that’s our responsibility,” said Michelle Laws, who brought her nieces to the vigil.

Organizers said the event was about standing up against hatred and standing up for justice and equality in solidarity with Charlottesville.

Those who attended with children said they know there is a lot at stake.

“We really need to start dealing with one of America’s greatest shames,” Laws said.

The group on Sunday demanded that elected officials condemn racist views and white supremacy and said they would "publicly commit ourselves to resisting the cancer of white supremacy," according to a Facebook post promoting the event.

The vigil was sponsored by several community organizations including Durham for Organizing Action, Indivisible: Triangle Daily Call to Action, IndivisiBull, and Protecting Progress in Durham.

Silent Sam

The violence in Charlottesville also stirred emotions in Chapel Hill, where Anti-hate messages were placed at the University of North Carolina’s Silent Sam statue.

Several hundred students and community members gathered at a solidarity rally at the statue, which has been at the center of protests, vandalism and calls for removal for years.

In Cary, a candlelight vigil was held at the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ to show unity in the face of the “hateful actions in Charlottesville.”

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