“Why don’t we gather up closer?” Rabbi Elliot Skiddell told a crowd of more than 100 that surrounded the stairs outside Central Synagogue – Beth Emeth on Thursday evening. “We can love one another a little bit more.”
Starting on Aug. 11, protesters at a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., which included white supremacists and neo-Nazis, came to oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park. The rally spurred counter-protests, and several clashes between the opposing groups resulted in three deaths and about 40 injuries.
Dozens of attendees from around the South Shore gathered in response to the violence displayed repeatedly this past week on news stations across the country, as they joined local officials and clergy in denouncing racism and hatred.
“We are here tonight to be heard, and to remind ourselves and each other of the power and the responsibility that each of us has every day,” said Emma Travers, co-founder of Rockville Centre group Raising Voices USA, who organized the vigil. “We have to use our voices and encourage others to use theirs for the common good.”
Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, Skiddell, of Central Synagogue, the Rev. Scott Ressman, of the United Church of Rockville Centre, and Pastor Robert Grimm, of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, were among the vigil’s speakers.
“I think there are people looking around wondering what country they’re living in right now, and they will hopefully see tonight and say that’s right, we do have values of inclusiveness…,” Kaminsky told the Herald. “We were Republican and Democrat. We were Christian and Jewish. We were black and white, and we came here together to talk about the country we want to live in. I think it’s very important to do that.”
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