wsls logo

Hundreds in Roanoke call for peace in light of Charlottesville violence

Community and faith leaders led vigil Sunday night

ROANOKE, Va. – Hundreds of people gathered in the Star City on Sunday night to honor those who were hurt and killed in Charlottesville this weekend.

The vigil was also an opportunity for people to call for peace and solidarity.

People from all across the Roanoke Valley came together, rallying around a common thought.

"There’s no place for hate in Roanoke, Virginia, no place whatsoever," Roanoke NAACP President Brenda Hale said.

"We are one valley and we need to be talking about the things we have in common, not the things that pull us apart," state Sen. John S. Edwards said.

Community leaders shared words of sorrow for the lives lost and words of hope for the future.

"Yesterday was a dark day in this commonwealth and across the country but we are going to let our light shine and we're going to let it shine and make sure that the citizens understand that we're moving forward," Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said.

Joe Harden was one of many who attended the vigil.

"I think probably my favorite part of the whole evening was when you were to hug someone that you didn't know and just random people are hugging random people and that was phenomenal," Harden said.

The message he hopes people walk away with is one he carries with him every day in a tattoo that says "ubuntu."

"What it means, loosely translated, is: I’ve got to take care of you and do my best to make you your best so that you can make me my best. And that we're all in this together, doesn't matter what the race, doesn't matter who we are, doesn't matter the ethnicity, that we've got to take care of each other," Harden said.

People shared a message of unity in the wake of tragedy.

"Replace hate, replace discrimination, replace bias. The only way is love. I say love... love... love... love... love.... unconditional love," Hale said.

About the Author:

Jessica anchors 10 News on Saturdays and Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m. You can also catch her reporting during the week.