Local groups rally for peace and justice

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Local groups are organizing rallies and vigils in the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va., where white nationalists gathered on Saturday for a “Unite the Right” march. A car rammed through a group of counter protesters, killing Heather D. Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others. Two state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, also died that day, when their helicopter monitoring the demonstrations crashed.

Civil rights lawyer Michael Sussman organized a rally for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16, at Cancun Inn, 1396 Kings Highway, in Sugar Loaf.

Patricia McMillan, the Democratic candidate for Orange County Legislature in District 3 (Towns of Minisink, Warwick and Wawayanda), is organizing the "Warwick Rally for Peace" from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 20, at Railroad Green, 30 Railroad Ave., Warwick.

"Please come out and join us as we demonstrate that we will not let hate win!" she writes. "Not here! Not now! Not ever!

Sussman wrote: "Our president's true colors are showing, as they often do. More than 35 years ago, he and his companies violated the Fair Housing Act, denying African-Americans access to rentals units under his control. During his campaign, he spoke about the African-American experience in highly patronizing terms, failing to recognize the diverse life experiences of people of color and appealing to African-Americans as if all were down and out and had nothing to lose by supporting him. Now, he is engaging in rhetoric which presents white supremacists and those who oppose them as morally equivalent, claiming that, among the former group, are "many fine people." Really...By his account, 'many fine people' joined the KKK and lynched people because of their race or their desire to associate with people of other races. Really.

"Tomorrow night, you have a chance to join many others and gather at the Cancun Inn in Sugar Loaf to be counted for a different vision — one which condemns those who engage in provocative race-based violence and anti-Semitism and shows solidarity with people prepared to stand up to this mob.

"Please join me at 630 p.m. tomorrow in Sugar Loaf and speak out; do not leave the defense of our nation to others! As Phil Ochs asked 50 years ago, 'Which side are you on, my friend?' I think I know..."

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