Peace activist in Charlottesville: 'I want your children to live in a safe America'
Posted August 14
Durham, N.C. — Peace activist Ken Nwadike who wears his "Free Hugs" t-shirt to political protests nationwide, was at the site of Saturday's car crash in Charlottesville.
Nwadike said he was nearly hit in the chaos when, police say, James Alex Fields Jr. rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters speaking out against an "alt-right" rally.
32-year-old Heather Heyer died in the collision.
"(Fields) slams into a car at the bottom of the hill after hitting all of these people, and the sounds of that, are probably the most horrific sounds I've ever heard," Nwadike said. "You hear people screaming and bodies literally being launched up against the brick wall."
Nwadike ran toward the injured people.
"It was such a gruesome scene," he said. "It's hard to process all of that when you're in that moment."
As a peace activist, Nwadike travels the country and does his best to diffuse violence at protests by having diplomatic conversations with both sides.
"We should be able to at least agree that I want your children to live in a safe America just as much as my children should feel safe in this country," he said.
He also spent time in Charlotte last year trying to mediate tensions between protesters and police. Nwadike said he hopes the tragedy in Charlottesville will not silence people's voices.
"No one should have to fear for their life when they go to protest an injustice," he said. "That shouldn't be a thought in their mind that they could possibly die for going for standing for something that I believe in. But sadly that's the reality right now."
A peaceful protest is planned in Durham Monday night, where people will ask that the city remove a Confederate statue.