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In wake of Charlottesville, Loudoun Democrats host gathering next to Confederate statue in Leesburg

Attendees at Sunday’s rally to remember the victims in Charlottesville and to “root out hate.” Times-Mirror/Bill Clare
Around 50 people gathered Sunday afternoon at the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn in Leesburg -- just steps away from a perched 1908 statue honoring fallen Confederate soldiers -- to combat hate and racism and to honor the Charlottesville woman who died during Saturday's race-fueled riots.

“Hate has no home here," said Minister Alice King of Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun. "It's up for us to root out the racism ourselves, to name it for ourselves and those around us. Whatever brought you here today – grief, resilience, commitment and anything I have left unnamed – may you bring it here, have it be held in this circle, and brought to the altar of humanity.”

Thousands of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and counter-protesters sparked chaos in Charlottesville Friday night and Saturday. A 32-year-old woman, Heather D. Heyer, was killed when a 20-year-old Ohio man drove a car through a crowd of people, and dozens more were seriously injured.

Sunday's event in Leesburg, organized by Loudoun resident Randy Ihara and local Democrats, was a chance for local citizens "to stand in solidarity with those in Charlottesville who died, were injured or assaulted by the forces of hate and racism unleashed in this country," Ihara said.

The gathering was also ripe with politics, most notably from Loudoun County Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg).

“We need to stand for love, and we need to stand for democracy and for truth,” Umstattd said. “The current occupier of the White House stands against all of us in that, and he is strengthened by the racism and the hatred we saw in Charlottesville yesterday and Friday.”

From left, Minister Alice King, Loudoun County Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg), South Riding resident Randy Ihara, Loudoun County Supervisor Koran Saines (D-Sterling) and Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk. Times-Mirror/Bill Clare


President Donald Trump (R) condemned the violence in Virginia Saturday, but Trump's critics and several Republican senators rebuked the president for not singling out the white nationalist and Nazi elements on display in Charlottesville. Instead, president said the violence came from “many sides.”

On Sunday, the White House issued a second statement that specifically noted “white supremacists” for inciting the violence.

By happenstance, a Leesburg rally in support of the Confederate monument was scheduled for yesterday, but organizers canceled due to fringe parties wanting to join in for the event.

The Confederate monument in downtown Leesburg has been the subject of controversy in recent years, with several elected officials, including Umstattd and Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large), calling for it to be moved outside the courthouse grounds. A 2015 rally at the Leesburg statue brought out scores of Confederate monument supporters and opponents. Supporters waving Confederate flags stood in front of the statue to proclaim their cause.

Anti-monument voices say the statue is a symbol of racism and inequality that doesn't belong next to the courthouse, a place meant to usher in justice and equality. Monument supporters say it's a part of history that should remain in its place.

On Sunday, Phillip Thompson, president of the Loudoun NAACP, aired his view that yesterday's events were necessary.

“When that kind of hate comes out, it demonstrates what it is, who it is. You saw it up close,” Thompson said. “It's good to have that hate. We needed to have that hate come out to show what it was and who these people are, and what they stand for.”

Thompson continued, “ … It's sad what happened, but had to happen. Every once in awhile in America, we've got to see this. Just like people had to see the hoses get turned onto the black people in Alabama. We had to see it before we finally opened our eyes and say, 'Oh, this is what we're up against.'”

Umstattd, the former mayor of Leesburg, said the town “may well be the site of another statue rally.”

“We have to be ready, because those who carry the Nazi flag will try to dominate any flag,” she said.

Mayor of Leesburg Kelly Burk, who has not taken a stance on whether the statue should remain on the courthouse grounds, was on hand for the event.

Speaking to the Times-Mirror at Sunday's gathering, Burk said town staff plans to meet Monday morning to examine what measures and precautions can be taken to ensure Charlottesville-like violence doesn't erupt in Leesburg.

While Sunday's gathering commenced with around 25-30 people on hand, more passersby joined as the event proceeded.

Harold Brown, a Leesburg resident, was strolling by the event. A Republican, Brown stepped in and urged the Democratic leaders “not to fight.”

“No, no, no – no fighting,” Brown interjected. “You do not have to fight to be free. You do not have to be free to love your neighbor. No fighting. If [the pro-Confederate groups] come, just walk away from them. Once it starts into a fight, there are going to be winners and losers. You do not want to be a losers.”

Tensions flared for a moment between Brown and Thompson, before Minister King and Leesburg Town Councilman Marty Martinez, the chairman of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, stepped in.

Martinez responded to Brown's comments, saying, “Just change fight to resist, we need to continue to resist."

Speaking to the Confederate statue, Martinez said “we're not trying to do away with our heritage.”

“We're trying to do away with the symbolism that perpetuates this hate and this racism,” he said.


Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.

Comments


Where did all these communists come from?


probably not good to be patiently yielding to passersby in your van while people return to their own peaceful neighborhoods


If one wishes to peacefully protest, it’s probably best not to do it on the road.


Yet not one of them was attacked by a white supremacist.


this thread has veered from story

gathering was intended to honor heather heyer, a young woman who died in a brutal attack by a neo-nazi - she stood for justice & equality & deserved better

gathering was not about a statue that elicits racial tensions; peaceful vigils were held all over the us, in a show of support for diversity & against hatred

heather’s friend said “We were against hate, that’s what we were against,” Blair told CNN. Blair wore a purple T-shirt with a picture of Heather and the words: “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention.”

“This is our city. We work here. We live here. And we didn’t want neo-Nazis and alt-right and racists to come into our city and think they could spread freely their hate, and their bigotry and their racism. We wanted to let them know that we were about love, that we were would overpower them ... We were peacefully protesting and we were just standing up for what we believe in… And that’s what Heather stood for. That’s why she was out there, that’s why we were out there.” cnn, 8-15-17

but five GOP states introduced legislation allowing drivers of vehicles to hit pedestrians/protestors with lesser sentences - really?


Another view, for Virginia SGP:

For the white supremacists who have been roundly vilified since their rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, Donald Trump’s news conference on Tuesday came as validation: The president used many of their talking points, condemning the left-wing groups that animate their rage and defending monuments to Confederate leaders who tried to protect slavery.

As well as this:

Nearly all of the nation’s top military leaders unequivocally condemned racism in public messages Wednesday, posing a stark and unusual contrast to President Donald Trump’s remarks that both white supremacists and counterprotesters were equally to blame for the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.


Umstadtt should of known about the rules governing gatherings on the courthouse grounds. Flagrant disregard because of her lofty status is what Saines Thompson and Kristian put on display. The little people have to do as she says but not as she does.


No idea where Umstattd finds a comment laced in opinions to tout as gospel.  Maybe Trump didn’t want to dignify David Duke as a prominent figure (wow, isn’t that what folks are saying should be done to the neo Nazi groups in Charlottesville ... ignore them… imagine that). 

Trump never condoned violence against those who disagreed with them.  He satirically commented about folks who intentionally disrupted his rallies.  When have you seen conservative activists attend a Hillary or other event just to disrupt it?  Why do Liberals think they can stop conservative/libertarian politicians or citizens from speaking?  It’s because the Liberals are the totalitarians in this whole debate.

Under Trump’s presidency:

1: the military has received some desperately needed funding.  (I might remind Umstattd, who once upon a time supposedly served in the Navy, that 2/3 of the Navy’s F-18’s were deemed unfit to fly recently because of funding shortages.  But maybe she views that as a good thing).

2: The stock market is booming adding $Ts (with a t) to the 401k’s, pensions, and nest eggs of Americans of all walks of life

3: useless regulations are being rolled back and companies are investing once again

4: simply by expressing an intent to enforce immigration laws, illegal immigration is way down (no change to legal immigration of course)

Sounds like he’s not doing such a bad job as President.  Many couldn’t stand the hypocrisy and borderline criminal actions of Bill Clinton as President but the Left defended him on his record.  I wonder if the Left (i.e. Umstattd) will give the same credit to Trump.

But one thing we know for sure is that Umstattd and Randall are nowhere to be seen when real issues arise in Loudoun.  Minorities experience de facto segregation in the Leesburg and Sterling schools based on zoning decisions of LCPS.  Nobody heard a peep out of either Umstattd and Randall despite many of us imploring them to step up.

The Obama administration and countless education reformers pushed for policies that would ensure every child gets an EFFECTIVE teacher in their classroom.  When LCPS signed false assurances on the NCLB waivers and ignored policies that would improve education, nobody heard a peep from Umstattd or Randall.  Minorities are sitting in classrooms every day where the teacher has no idea how to teach her students about math.  Umstattd couldn’t care less.  She does want that very same teacher to be showered in taxpayer cash though.

Those issues matter in the lives of Loudoun’s minorities.  A statue has virtually no daily relevance whatsoever.  We can “count on” Randall and Umstattd to speak out on useless wedge issues and cower in fear/timidity when real civil rights issue arise.  Congratulations, you are the personification of the Left’s paper tigers!


For those, like Virginia SGP, I offer the following comment found on-line:

After a campaign gestated in birtherism, Trump was slow to condemn the likes of white supremacist David Duke, routinely spoke in coded racial language to energize a segment of people angry about the changing face of the country and condoned violence against those who disagreed with him, Trump, over the last four days, has proven that he is that same person as president.
And that person is the opposite of a leader. And that person is dangerous to this country’s well-being.


So Umstattd is telling us to stop “shouting” and that she has the words of “tolerance”.  Let’s see. 

Umstattd opposes others expressing their views in public marches… doesn’t seem like tolerance to me. 

Umstattd accuses others of “shouting” when all we are doing is expressing opinions in a public forum (LTM’s).  Nobody is shouting but isn’t that the point.  Umstattd and her ilk make up lies and myths to try to shut down the other side.  That is the very definition of intolerance.

As to the “advice” to stop “digging the hole”, I seem to recall me giving you and Randall some advice prior to going to federal court.  That Yale law degree wasn’t much use to you then, now was it.  Loudoun and Randall are now the poster children for speech discrimination on social media .... FOREVER!  Let that sink in a minute Kristen and then tell me who exactly is digging, ok?


Perhaps some advice, for those, like Virginia SGP.  It is usually wise to stop digging the hole you are in.  Shouting down the words of tolerance with sarcastic words does not advance the discussion.


Laugh couldn’t be more wrong.  The reason race relations have deteriorated so far is because no slight goes unnoticed now.  I recall many kids in high school taking great umbrage at being “dissed”.  They should have ignored those ignorant comments/slights.  If the media didn’t report on all this and nobody had gathered to confront the supremacists, it would have been analogous to a tree falling in a deserted forest.  Instead, we now have the Left feeling like a President is truly racist and we have folks who want history preserved and men who gave the ultimate sacrifice honored feeling estranged. 

But fear not as Umstattd has got her wedge issue now.  She and her comrades have gotten everybody worked up for the next slight.  And if every single politician doesn’t immediately shout down the next opposing view, they must be racist and part of the alt-Right (or whatever that is).  There is no difference between Sharpton (who makes $$ off such “crises”) and Umstattd, who thinks she will hold office a little longer. 

Even if you agree with her policies, Umstattd needs to be ushered off (by the voters) into her golden years of retirement.  She’s free to speak but maybe the press and citizens should start ignoring her just like we should ignore the neo-Nazis.


“The fact that it took the president two days to come out and clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful,” Fallon said. “And I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something.”

And he is right.  Almost.  Some people are doing just the opposite Check out Virginia SGP’s comments, for example.  With stories like this one, and events that happen all too often, it should be pointed out that there are those who attack people who do speak out.  There are people who take cheap shots at those who speak out. I will not attempt to wonder why.  But it is sad.


To use the court house grounds for a gathering you are supposed to summit a application 30 days in advance, Umstadtt, Saines and Thompson did not adhere to the law for gatherings on courthouse grounds. Put them in jail for trespass. Reallyfedup needs to look at Loudoun County’s website under gathering since it was for only democrats.


The need for a permit is based on safety issues.  If you plan on over crowding the streets there is the potential for someone to be hit by a car.  Thus the police have to close the roads and area down.  The permit is supposed to be granted unless there is an overwhelming safety reason not to, the permit CANNOT be denied based on the type of speech that is to be presented.


still searching for any state or local GOP-arranged vigil or gathering in memory of the troopers who died protecting OR the young woman who was murdered in cold blood OR those who were terrorized by neo-nazis in charlottesville. . .


Hopefully the posters who applaud the KKK, Nazis, and other such groups attend the next rally so they can get their picture on the news for their employer, neighbor, and friends can see their true self.


Why would you need a permit? I don’t see that ANYWHERE in the Constitution? Last I checked, it states:

Article (Amendment 1 - Freedom of expression and religion)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


If you “defend” these neo-nazis for what happened in Charlottesville, YOU ARE PART of the problem. Don’t call yourself a Patriot. WE WENT TO WAR to stop the nazis and now you are defending them here??? That’s worse than spitting in the face of surviving WW2 Vets and the headstones at Arlington.

Stop and think, we traveled to Europe and beat them (Nazis) there, we will beat them again here in our continent.

BTW, it’s “Could have” not “Could of”.


We see Umstattd trying to never let a “crisis go to waste” even in these chat forums. There is nobody on these boards who supports white nationalist policies. None. There are many who think everyone should be free to speak whether they slander the police for enforcing laws or whether they believe races should be separated (I recall Lincoln believed the same thing, maybe Umstattd can comment on that if her Yale education lets her hold cognitively dissonant thoughts in her head).

The best comment is to simply ignore those who call for silly outcomes that nobody will ever support. But many Leftists feel the need to race bait and newspapers have to sell copy. Thus, we get this. Funny how the media is less inclined to report on actual legal violations of corruption laws by elected officials than on irrelevant movements.


Only “around 50 people”??


This comment thread shows us quite clearly what passes for thought in Trump Nation.  #DerpState


Everyone has a protected right to speak and assemble. 

The city and state were trying to deny that right to the most horrendous people imaginable. 

Federal judge protected that right and Gov Terry and company stood back and let the fighting begin.  Wrong decision by the Gov.

Let these trash people yell and scream the most vile words they wish. 

The rest of us should simply ignor them, to include the media, and then they have no forum.


8 years of Obama, Holder and Lynch created all of this. They through gas on the flame blamed the Police and Whites for all of the injustice that is going on in the country. It started with the Yale professor who got arrested for disorderly conduct and Obama said the police acted stupidly. Or when he said Trayvon Martin could of been my son and also sending a delegation to the funeral of Michael Brown who robbed a store and tried to kill a police officer in Ferguson Missouri. they should of kept their pie holes shut entire the facts came out but they just couldn’t wait and had to enflame their base of supporters. Although Trump is the president now we still have to live in the Age of Obama where its ok for men to use the ladies rooms and women can use the mens room and you can join the military to get your sex change paid for. The anything goes mentality has to stop


I see that there are a few commenters, who seem to be on the side of racism and hatred.  Members of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, perhaps?  Where is the outrage against the racists hate groups from leadership of the Loudoun County Republican Committee?


Didn’t they need a permit?


Unite The Right showed up in defensive gear because they know they would be met by radical leftists intent on denying them their 1st Amendment right. Period.


FromHereNotAComeHere and besides, whats unnerving about the KKK walking through the center of town with torches?  I can’t imagine why they got such a response from the leftists and the BLM groups? Have you ever heard the expression that doing nothing IS making a choice?


FromHereNotAComeHere is right!  If those insane leftists hadn’t shown up there would have been no problem.  Those nazis were totally innocent and just wanted to spend a lovely day in the park, which is why they had home made shields, pepper spray, baseball ball bats, helmets, sticks and of course all the popular symbols of love and unity….  And FromHereNotAComeHere is ALSO right about ignoring the Nazis.  Historically speaking, turning a blind eye to fascists has worked great! Just ask Germany, Chile, Spain, Italy, The Soviet Union and lets not forget North Korea.


Black lives matter, Antifa, and the Democrat left in general own the violence that is going on in this Country right now. Hurt feelings and being offended does not justify the violent Left’s suppression of free speech.


Lets hope this nonsense doesn’t come to Leesburg. Any permits issued by the town should include a statement that you are not allowed to carry shields, bats, weapons, torches, etc at any type of demonstration rally on public property.

If some Nationalist group holds a rally at the courthouse, hopefully the LPD, LCSO, and State Police completely block off the streets around the courthouse, prevent anybody other than the rally folks beyond the barrier, and let them vent into the ether without an audience to incite.

Charlottesville should serve as an example that you need to create extreme barriers between two polar opposite groups.


“The rally in C-Ville turned violent because leftists, BLM & Antifa made it that way.”

Huh?  The Nazi terrorists who showed up in Charlottesville carrying weapons and wearing riot gear came to town to intimidate and cause trouble.  Period.


Credit to LTM for pointing out that the violence was caused by the “protestors” and “anti-protestors”.  Regardless of which side you are on, when you show up to a protest with helmets, sticks, mace and other weapons, you’re no longer an innocent protester/counter-protestor.  You’re then a rioter and should be put in jail.


The rally in C-Ville turned violent because leftists, BLM & Antifa made it that way. Had the Unite The Right people been left alone to march, it’s unlikely there would have been violence. When I see a group protesting in the street who I don’t agree with, I don’t run home to get my mask and pepper spray with the hopes of a confrontation: I ignore them and go on with my day.

PS The Leesburg monument is protected by state law: it’s not going anywhere.


America is rather unique in having a country not identified by ethnicity. When another people want to preserve their heritage and customs (see Bosnia, Kosovo, South Sudan, East Timor, etc.), they are praised. When the folks in Charlottesville want to do the same thing, they are equated with hate and evil. The Left says their “kind” should not be tolerated (guess that means businesses shouldn’t serve them and universities should not admit them). And many in the Left want to suppress their right to even march.

I like the fact that the US is based on ideas rather than ethnicities. There is no typical person with regards to race/ethnicity. Others don’t like that. So what. Let them speak. It is pretty clear they are a very small percentage. Violence should never be allowed or condoned. But most of those in Charlottesville were not planning on engaging in violence. So why condemn them all?

I was in NY this weekend and witnessed some Leftists marching against Trump. As expected, some were holding signs of “solidarity” with raised red fists, the universal symbol for Marxism and communism. Should they be shut down and condemned too? Their ideology leads to mass starvation and violence a la Venezuela. Many would suppress even the right of those in Charlottesville to march. Some of each side simply want the state to ban their enemy rather than protecting the rights of all? Why would anyone think any “nationalist” group will ever come close to political power? Let them speak but punish those who commit violence to the fullest extent.


Wonder why the Dems and NAACP did not ask the Republican Party to join them in unity.  But again, this is all about political advantage and that’s what the Dems and NAACP are engaging in.  THey are focusing on the statute because they want to drive a wedge and create animosity. Good for Mr. Brown stepping in like that.

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