A Wichita rally drew nearly 300 people Sunday night in response to violent events this weekend in Charlottesville, Va.
The Wichita Peace and Social Justice rally was posted on Facebook on Sunday and people began gathering shortly before 7 p.m.
Michael Colling wore a black Nasty Woman t-shirt and carried a rainbow umbrella.
“I came tonight because I was disgusted by what I saw on the news about Charlottesville. It was absolutely horrendous and un-American. When I heard that cities across the nation were doing this very thing (in solidarity) I wanted to be a part of it.”
Gatherings around the country Sunday spanned from a march to President Donald Trump’s home in New York to candlelight vigils in several cities. In Seattle, police made arrests and confiscated weapons as Trump supporters and counter-protesters converged downtown. The gatherings came a day after three deaths that were a result of a white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia.
The Wichita rally brought out those running for political office.
James Thompson, a civil rights attorney who is seeking election to the 4th Congressional District in 2018, called the events in Charlottesville a terrorist attack.
“I … reject any of the philosophies, beliefs of white nationalist movements, the Nazis, the skinheads and the alt-right movement,” Thompson told the crowd. “I think the thing that needs to happen now is that we need to demand that from every single one of our leaders from the President to the dog catcher.”
Community activist Brandon Johnson, who is running for a city council seat, called on the crowd to do something to end the hatred and violence.
“In times like this, it is incumbent upon us to do something,” Johnson said. “We always look to elected officials – but nothing says we can’t make that change. I gave up on a lot of our federal leaders a long time ago. Because when you see things happen, they don’t say anything.
“Water rights are being taken from our Native Americans, people of color are being killed in our streets not only by law enforcement but Americans, they don’t say anything. It has come to the point for us to do and say something.”
The crowd sang folk songs and carried signs like “Make America Kind Again” and “Love Trumps Hate.”
One sign read “Standing with Charlottesville. Standing against: *White Supremacy *Hatred *Bigotry”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this story