U. Va. students plan to stand up to Unite the Right protesters

'It was one of the most frightening experiences of my entire life.'

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Last year, the night before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists marched onto the University of Virginia campus. 

But standing at the base of the Thomas Jefferson statue they rallied around were more than 20 students, holding a banner that read "VA students act against white supremacy."

Clara Carlson was one of those students.

"It was one of the most frightening experiences of my entire life," said Carlson, with UVa. Students United.

She's still angry about that night because she says university police officers watched the violence unfold and did nothing to protect the students -- one of many things she wants to hold U. Va. leadership accountable for. 

"They have never acknowledged the people that were there that night and they continue to discourage students from standing up in that way," said Carlson. 

That's why she and other students are holding a rally for justice this Saturday. 

"Students will always be on the front lines fighting against white supremacy and that we are trying to reclaim that space that the white supremacists marched on," said Kibiriti Majuto, member of UVa Students United

They expect hundreds of students to join them in the same place where protesters carrying torches stood one year ago. 

But their message is much different.

"They're going to see a list of demands of what we want the university to do to actually address and what we want to show the world has actually been happening on this campus." 

"We are in many ways strong and we are in many ways resilient and you'll see that this weekend when we continue to defend our communities and our city."

A U. Va. spokesperson sent us this statement:

"Our top priority is to keep people safe. as we approach this weekend, there will be an increased law enforcement presence in the region and access to some roads, public spaces and buildings may also be limited. ...the university continues to reach out to organizers of this rally to gauge the appropriate safety and security measures needed for it."

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