The violent-turned-deadly clashes at the white nationalist rally “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville this past Saturday hit close to home, evoking emotions from Rappahannock elected officials, political candidates, and residents alike. Here is some of the reaction:
“She was funny, she was strong, and she worked her [butt] off. Her heart was huge and she always defended what she believed in. This is a tragedy. She was loved and will be so missed. Please join the world in thanking this beautiful soul.”
— Stevie Rae Ross, Sperryville native who previously worked in Charlottesville with Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed Saturday when a car slammed into a crowd of anti-white supremacy protesters.
“I am afraid for our future. I have a child due in a month . . . and to think that my child might be born into a world where we’re regressing is genuinely frightening. And I want to be clear again. This person [the car driver plowing into protesters], if this was an intentional act, is a terrorist . . . and whether it goes federal or state the argument should be over which prison he dies in.”
— U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett, Virginia Republican representing Rappahannock County, who spent the weekend explaining a recent photo of him posing alongside Jason Kessler, organizer of the Charlottesville rally, insisting it surrounded Kessler’s visit to Capitol Hill to discuss a town hall and terrorism bill.
“Let’s stand up for the targets of the hate groups who have descended on Charlottesville. . . . What I’m seeing is unvarnished Nazism. ‘Blood and soil’ mixed with weapons is a terrible echo of the past.”
— Leslie Cockburn, Rappahannock resident and Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District seat.
“The violence and hate that has reared it’s ugly head in our commonwealth is abhorrent. Pray that we may find peace. We are ALL one Virginia.”
— Delegate Michael Webert, Virginia House District 18 representing Rappahannock County
“Hate in any form is unacceptable. Thoughts and prayers to Charlottesville.”
— Will King, Green Party candidate for Virginia State House District 18.
“I was thoroughly shaken by the events of the weekend, which I shared with the UUBridge [the Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge] community, who were not only supportive they were equally shaken. We were considering abandoning our service Sunday morning in lieu of having a memorial for Heather and the entire Charlottesville community. Instead, we had a moment of silence and are planning a vigil which will be announced later.”
— Ellie Clark, nurse volunteer with Rappahannock Rapidan Medical Reserve Corps and member of the Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue, who was en route from her Tiger Valley home to the Unite the Right rally to be a first-aid provider, but was turned around south of Madison by her Charlottesville supervisor for safety reasons.
“Make no mistake — when this is your hometown — where you went to elementary school and middle school and high school, where you had ballet lessons and soccer games and played in the school play, when this is where you had your first kiss, where you learned to drive, where you waited tables and went to college and where you were married — make no mistake, when a town is all that to you and this happens it is absolutely terrorism.”
— Dabney Kirchman, Sperryville resident who grew up in Charlottesville.