ICYMI!  Candlelight Vigil Held at University of Virginia

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PHOTO University of Virginia students, faculty and residents attend a candle light march across grounds in Charlottesville, Va., Wednesday. (ANDREW SHURTLEFF/THE DAILY PROGRESS VIA AP)

Peaceful gathering was held four days after three people lost their lives during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

By Katelyn Newman , U.S. News & World Report, Aug. 17, 2017

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night at the University of Virginia in honor of the woman who lost her life Saturday during counter-protests of a white supremacist rally.

Members of the Charlottesville, Virginia, community pulled the vigil off quietly without publicizing on social media, CNN reported. This was done in an effort to ensure safety. Emails, texts and word of mouth helped organizers stage the event, which saw members of the community holding candles.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed on Saturday when she was standing in a crowd counter-protesting a white supremacist rally. The original rally was held in response to the planned removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate army during the U.S. Civil War.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12:  White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with police as they are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-facist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Photos: White Nationalist Rally Turns Violent

Supporters of that rally, including neo-Nazis, members of the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists, clashed with anti-racism demonstrators, and several confrontations heated up quickly, turning into street brawls. One supporter then reportedly rammed his car into some of the anti-racism demonstrators, injuring 19 and killing Heyer. Two Virginia state troopers also lost their lives Saturday when their helicopter, used for crowd control, crashed.

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” said Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, during the vigil.

“Let’s find that spark of conviction,” Bro told the hundreds who gathered to remember her daughter. “Find what’s wrong and say to yourselves, ‘What can I do to make a difference?'”

Police identified the driver as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, who was arrested and charged with murder, malicious wounding and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He’s been described by those that know him as being an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

The vigil came after President Donald Trump blamed both sides for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville. His initial delay and later condemnation of all parties involved has so far resulted in widespread criticism, as well as the disbandment of two of his business councils after multiple CEOs resigned in protest.

He acknowledged the memorial service Wednesday on Twitter, calling Heyer “a truly special young woman.”



Katelyn Newman is a digital producer and writer for the News division at U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at knewman[at]usnews.com.