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Local News

Santa Barbara Groups Hold Rally in Solidarity with Charlottesville

Dozens of people gathered in Santa Barbara's De la Guerra Plaza Sunday evening to stand in solidarity with the citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a rally turned violent Saturday. 

That day in Charlottesville, white supremacists gathered for a “Unite the Right” march, organized to oppose a plan by local officials to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, according to news reports. 

Counter-protesters gathered as well and many incidents of violence broke out between members of the two groups.

A 20-year-old man was arrested and denied bail after allegedly driving a car into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing Charlottesville woman Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others, according to news reports. 

Two members of the Virginia state police were killed when their helicopter crashed and burst into flames. The helicopter was providing continuous video of the "street fights" surrounding the rally, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. They were identified as Lt. H. Jay Cullen, the pilot and commander of the State Police Aviation Unit, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

Santa Barbara's Sunday rally had a moment of silence and encouraged those in attendance to take action every day against racism, and to do more than just show up for protests and marches. 

Santa Barbara residents attend a rally in De la Guerra Plaza Sunday to stand in solidarity with the citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara residents attend a rally in De la Guerra Plaza Sunday to stand in solidarity with the citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia.  (Julia Lee / Noozhawk photo)

“Hate isn’t the problem; Division isn’t the problem,” said Jarrod Schwartz, executive director of Just Communities. “Hate and division are tools of oppression. Oppression is the problem. We need to be focused on dismantling oppression every day.” 

The Santa Barbara rally was hosted by The Beloved Community Isla Vista; Women’s March Santa Barbara; SURJ SB: Showing up for Racial Justice, Santa Barbara; Campus Democrats at UCSB; and Indivisible Santa Barbara.

Noozhawk intern Julia Lee can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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