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Silence, speech, song at San Francisco's vigil for Charlottesville victims

2017-08-13 19:45:31 (Beijing Time)         news.xinhuanet.com

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A man holding a sign reads "Patriotism is tolerance" take part in a candle light vigil in downtown San Francisco, the United States, on August 12, 2017. Three people were killed and 19 wounded in Charlottesville, as a supporter of the so-called alt-right movement rammed his car into a crowd of protesters against a white nationalist rally. Then, a local group known as Indivisible SF, short for San Francisco, called for the vigil "to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville." (Xinhua/Xu Yong)

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- It was mostly silent in an hour of vigil Saturday evening in downtown San Francisco, a city on the U.S. West Coast, for those who fell victim to the violence earlier in the day in Charlottesville, Virginia, in eastern United States.

For about 50 minutes, hundreds of people gathered at Union Square, a public plaza in a shopping, hotel and theater district of the city, sitting or standing silently, some holding a lighted candle and some with duct tape over their mouths.

Against street noises, there was no speech, no chant, no talk.

For a moment, a street artist with a trumpet at the corner of the plaza played the tune of Amazing Grace, one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world, whose writer was involved in slave trade across the Atlantic Ocean in the 18th century and whose message was about forgiveness and redemption.

Hours ago, news broke out that three people were killed and 19 wounded in Charlottesville, as a supporter of the so-called alt-right movement rammed his car into a crowd of protesters against a white nationalist rally. Then, a local group known as Indivisible SF, short for San Francisco, called for the vigil "to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville."

"In light of the events in Charlottesville today, please join us to show that love will prevail," noted the group in a posting on the Facebook social media network, "Bring signs of hope, peace and love. Let's show the world what love and tolerance can do."

Outside the silent crowd at Union Square, a man was handing out a flyer that reads: "This Nightmare Must End." Identifying himself as Barry Thornton, he said that there is a rallying of fascists and white supremacists in the country, and that those who do not want a fascist future should "come together, take to the street and say we will not stand for a fascist America."

After the vigil, several people spoke to the crowd, including Maya Peri, a second-year student at the University of Virginia, which is located in Charlottesville.

Now paying a summer vacation visit to her parents, who live in San Francisco, Peri choked to speak about what happened at the university town, but managed to remind the audience that most people there are nice, unlike the ones who staged the white nationalist rally and turned violent against protesters,

The event ended with the crowd singing a song titled This Land is Your Land, one of the most famous folk songs in the United States, to deliver an inclusive message that is carried by the first as well as last lines of the lyrics: "This land is your land, this land is my land ... This land was made for you and me."

Asked what is her message for schoolmates in Charlottesville, Peri said she would encourage people "to seek different creative solutions to this disgusting problem of anti-Semitism and racism that plagued our institution" and "to hear other one's perspective on it and try new things, so we will be coming together to solidify, as opposed to sticking to ourselves and becoming insular."