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After Charlottesville, New Englanders Rally Against Racism, Violence

Rallies sprang up around New England Sunday in solidarity with the anti-Nazi protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia.

About 1,000 people rallied in front of Northampton City Hall, chanting, "What do we do when fascists attack? Stand up, fight back. What do we do when Trump attacks? Stand up, fight back."

The speakers from labor, pro-immigration groups and local congregations urged the crowd to get involved fighting racism and injustice in western Mass.

Eduardo Samaniego, a student at Hampshire College who said he is undocumented, told the crowd the events in Charlottesville underscore the need for immigration reform.

"That is how we address white supremacy," he said. "That is how we beat these Nazis -- by showing up, by raising our voices, by standing up and never being quiet!"

Katherine Duke from Amherst said she came to be part of a local gathering that says -- we won't stand for this.

"I hope everyone in our community and in Charlottesville and around the country who feels frightened right now and angry and upset can look to us here in Northampton, and wherever else there are gatherings like this, and feel that we are on your side," she said. "We are here for you."

Rallies were also organized in Boston and at least a half-dozen communities in Connecticut.

In West Hartford, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy called for a moment of silence for the people killed this weekend in Virginia. And he criticized Donald Trump's comments both as a candidate and as president.

"We can't go to political rallies and have leaders say, 'Why don't you rough that person up?' We can't have leaders that say, 'Well, maybe we should rough up people that we're arresting.' We cannot have leaders who don't understand that they must denounce this -- every single day that they are alive," Malloy said to cheers.

Miles Wilkerson organized another gathering in Willimantic. He said he felt moved to take action and bring people together.

"To be a man of color in this country, and feel like at any time I could killed by a white supremacist terrorist -- I'm not afraid of a terrorist who's in another country," Wilkerson said. "I'm afraid of the terrorists who are living in my country."

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.
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