Hundreds Stand With Charlottesville

Norman Clement leads attendees to First and Summerfield UMC. 

Norman Clement leads attendees to First and Summerfield UMC. 

Following this weekend’s eruption of violence and terror in Charlottesville, Va.,  a few hundred community members gathered Sunday night on the New Haven Green to stand in solidarity with the city, and raise funds for those injured in the line of protest. The hour-long rally was organized by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) , New Haven AntiFascists, and a local chapter of Answer Coalition.  A source later confirmed via social media that $604 was raised at the event.

As the crowd swelled from 50 to over 200, faces from Black Lives Matter New Haven, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE), Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), the United Muslim Mosque in Waterbury, Unitarian Society of New Haven and others dotted the scene.

They came bearing gifts at the juncture of art and activism: homemade signs and placards, arsenals of folk music and protest song, and cameras to document speeches and a short, planned march. 

“It [America] has never been, and is not, a great country,” said New Havener Dyman Ellis (pictured at top), holding a microphone close to her mouth while protest veteran Norman Clement grasped the attached bullhorn. “A revolution is way overdue.”

Overdue, and not far off, said Clement. At 7 p.m., the crowd mobilized, marching from Church and Chapel Streets to First and Summerfield United Methodist Church on College and Elm, where immigrant Marco Antonio Reyes Alvarez has taken sanctuary from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The rally transformed into a prayer vigil, with local musicians and spiritual leaders slipping between English and Spanish as they sang and spoke. 

Declaring of Alvarez’s family that “they’re full of hope, because of us,” Clement handed over the vigil to members of ULA, First and Summerfield, several partner sanctuary congregations, and musical interludes from local musicians and Elm City Vineyard Church. As the vigil wound down, Alvarez addressed attendees from just inside the church.

The following photo gallery comes from that evening. Click on the below images to enlarge them and see captions. 

Video has been used with permission from Travis Carbonella. All photos by Lucy Gellman.