Phoenix civil-rights activists have staged a public vigil Sundayafternoon as a stand against “hate and racism” following violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va. during a white nationalist event Saturday.

One woman died at that rally and at least 19 were injured, mowed down by a car driven by a suspected white supremacist. Two police officers died in a helicopter crash while monitoring the rally from the air.

More:Deadly car attack, violent clashes in Charlottesville: What we know now

But the violence in Charlottesville spawned several “solidarity” demonstrations across the country Saturday and Sunday, including in Denver, Seattle, Portland and Chicago.

The “Phoenix Against Hate Vigil” is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at the Phillips Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on 14th and Adams streets in Phoenix.

By early afternoon, about 700 people had RSVP’d as “going” to the event via Facebook, and nearly 2,000 said they were interested in attending. 

Reaction to deadly violence

The nationwide events are a reaction against deadly violence at the “Unite the Right” rally defending a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va.

The Virginiarallywas shut down Saturday after alt-right demonstrators, counter-protesters, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and supporters of Black Lives Matter clashed, injuring dozens.

Then, as crowds dispersed, a 32-year-old woman was killed on a nearby street after someone drove a car into a crowd of people who had been protesting white supremacists and were leaving the rally.

Related: Anti-Trump group holds Phoenix vigil for those killed, injured in Charlottesville

‘Let’s just call it what it is. It’s hatred.’

At least two local events – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – were initially slated in Phoenix for Sunday, but by Sunday morning, organizers had opted to join forces.

The 4 p.m. “Phoenix Against Hate Vigil” was the creation of Black Lives Matter-PHX, and will now include would-be protesters from a “Charlottesville Solidarity Rally” which wasinitially planned for 10 a.m. at the Arizona Capitol.  

Lisa Umar, who had scheduled the morning event on Facebook, said she created the post after failing find any other planned rally online. 

“I wasn’t seeing anything,” she said. “So I was like, ‘well, somebody’s going to be doing it. It might as well be me.'” 

Umar said she wanted to send a message to the people in Charlottesville. 

“If I were in that community, what I’d really want to see is the entire country making a statement,” she said.

If the white nationalists are going to be visible, she added, “we want to be even more visible to show that the majority of the people in this country are not OK with this message.”

Rev. Reginald Walton, an organizer for the vigil, said he hopes the event “gives people the space to lament, be thoughtful, and to really understand what transpired in Charlottesville.” 

“This rebranding of the alt-right movement – let’s just call it what it is. It’s hatred and it’s racism,” he said. “And we’re coming together to stand against such things.”


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