A few days after the tragic deaths of Heather Heyer and Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates in Charlottesville Va, a crowd of 250 gathered on Public Square in Medina, a short distance away from what had once been a part of the Underground Railroad.
A retired pastor, a physician, a writer, political candidates, city officials, community organizers spoke unanimously against racism, hate and bigotry.On the Square, people from all origins, ages and walks of life listened, prayed and sang in honor of the victims and of those who had been injured in Charlottesville. They all stood for the principles of equality, justice and inclusiveness which the people of this country have strived to protect for more than two centuries as articulated in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence : “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The gathering had been sparked by outrage and the compelling need to speak for the voiceless in our society and against domestic terrorism. Together, the concerned citizens reaffirmed the American people’s belief in equality and in standing for each other as values that give this country its grace and its resilience.
There would be other vigils held through the country and the spontaneous “street referendum” that happened in Boston when thousands of people marched against outdated beliefs proving right the words of Heather’s mother:
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.”
And like the resilient flower for which she was named, Heather's spirit endures.