An impromptu vigil, organized by Marian Raab with the help of other South Orange and Maplewood residents, took place this evening in Maplewood in response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA yesterday that left one peaceful counter-protester dead.
There were words of healing but there was also recognition of the ongoing battle against racism. The tone of the evening was mostly one of a call to action.
Below are some quotes from statements made tonight at the Maplewood vigil:
Marion Raab: I’m here because because I couldn’t not do this. Because my great grandparents were executed by the Nazis. They were brought to a town square similar to Ricalton Square, and they were shot – they were executed at point blank range. And that wasn’t that long ago – when you think about it. I go back to the words of Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change – I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Walter Fields, Black Parents Workshop: I share in the outrage about the incidents in Charlottesville VA, but I also understand that that we have a lot to do here in South Orange and Maplewood…. We can’t allow ourselves to think that this was some isolated event, or out of the character of this nation. This is in the DNA of America…. Every day across this country, people of color live if fear of losing their lives because of the color of their skin…. It’s easy to be outraged about something that’s happening 400 miles from your house. The question is: Are you going to be outraged by something that happens in your backyard.
CHS student Ben Morris: We are in a state of unrest – and it is a scary and saddening to be alive.
Johanna Wright, South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education: I knew after watching what happened yesterday in Charlottesville that would have an impact on our community – and it did. I have a message for all of you who came down here tonight from a friend of mine in Charlottesville:“I want to thank Maplewood NJ – we feel all the love that’s flowing our way.” ….These are times when we have to stand up instead of standing by.
Robert A. Marchman of the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race: As president of the coalition, I just want to send our support and condolences to our brothers and sisters in Charlottesville VA for the terrible and horrific acts that happened yesterday. I’m really proud to be here today, this is what makes Maplewood and South Orange really special…. As a person of color, who frankly, every day, still faces racism in this country and it’s not from the alt-right, Nazis or others who espouse racism and anti-semitism… . Frankly, for some of us, this has been a battle all of our lives, and I need to see actions….”
CHS teacher TJ Whitaker: While many people locally and nationally have expressed shock and surprise at the domestic terrorism on display in Charlottesville, VA, we view them as merely another example of the white supremacist ideology that has plagued this country since it’s founding…. The election of the first black president, followed by the election of an openly racist and misogynist commander and chief merely set the stage for what we saw this weekend. I can honestly say what I saw on Saturday and Friday night was not a surprise.
Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca (via Facebook): Sunday night vigil and march in Maplewood – hundreds of people came out in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville and against white supremacy. We will not be silent.