Eugene community gathers in response to Charlottesville
On Monday, Aug. 14, the EMU amphitheater was abuzz with Eugene community members holding signs and chatting. Students, families and other community members gathered in response to recent conflicts between rallying white nationalists and those protesting against them in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 11.
“We want to make sure that folks from marginalized communities feel safe,” said march organizer Jaki Salgado. “Having the ability to call out to allies too — to make sure that we’re not just talking about things that are happening, but that we are actually showing up in tangible ways and connecting with other organizations, having conversations with our families.”
Organizers at the rally spoke about the recent events in Charlottesville and how they relate to Eugene. One speaker referenced the University of Oregon’s recent issues with Deady Hall and Dunn Hall. Dunn was recently renamed Unthank Hall after DeNorval Unthank Jr., who was the first African-American graduate of UO’s architecture school.
Around 300 to 400 people marched as part of “Hate is Not Welcome In Lane County” event organized by local political groups, including the local branch of Democratic Socialists of America. The march began at the EMU amphitheater with a short list of speakers and moved its way downtown through the Park Blocks to the Lane County Courthouse, where a rally was held after.
As the crowd gathered at the EMU, recent UO students Shaundra Cook and Sam Ruback stood holding signs that said “Make Nazis Afraid Again” and “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” a quote attributed to Heather Heyer, an activist who was killed in Charlottesville when a car ran into protestors.
As for why she came to the rally, Cook said it was the one closest to her. But she and Ruback also came in support of minorities. “I think if you don’t feel a personal connection to the oppressed, then you are choosing the side of the oppressor,” Ruback said.
As the march arrived at the courthouse, a man carrying a Trump-Pence sign from the election walked towards marchers. A rally participant tore the sign out of the man’s hands and proceeded to tear it into pieces.
Marchers arrived at the courthouse shouting “Black Lives Matter,” one of many chants.
At the beginning of the march, community organizer Phil Carrasco said to the crowd: “I belong to this community. Nobody is going to kick me out of it.”
Anna Lieberman contributed reporting.
This post was updated at 9:51 p.m. to reflect the correct spelling of a source’s name.
Correction: Eugene DSA was not involved in organizing this event, they were asked only to play a part in leading the march by its organizers. This correction was made at 11:01 p.m.
Follow Sararosa Davies on Twitter: @srosiedosie
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.