They came bearing candles, signs and messages of acceptance.
“Everyone matters! Why do we hate?”
“Love comes in all colors.”
“Hate has no home here.”
More than 100 people gathered at Pasco's Memorial Park on Sunday night, sparked by an event that happened a day earlier and on the other side of the country.
The demonstration was one of many across the nation in the aftermath of events Saturday that left one dead and many more injured when a car plowed into a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Va.
Speakers urged the participants to speak out against hate, and called for people to create spaces for marginalized groups to be heard.
The event was organized by Love Not Hate Tri-Cities with help from the Women’s March and Indivisible, according to organizers.
“We stand with our neighbors and our nation against hate tonight after the terrorism white supremacists committed in Charlottesville yesterday,” organizers wrote on Facebook. “We shall not allow their actions to become the norm in our country.”
The Rev. Doak M. Mansfield stood on a picnic table to tell the crowd they should learn to accept and love one another.
He came with members of his congregation from the Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasco. Members wore matching yellow polo shirts, which called for love.
The universalist faith has carried its message of love to people in the community for 10 years, Mansfield said. After Saturday’s violence, they decided it was important to spread their message.
“The Charlottesville demonstration calls for every person of conscience, who respects constitutional government and the Bill of Rights and human decency to come together to stand on the side of love,” he said. “Together we can overcome most problems.”
Vicky Parker, along with her husband Kevin Cravens, her daughter and son-in-law Emily and Ricky Micheles, came from Kennewick to participate.
Parker said seeing the events on the news made her want to get involved.
“We don’t want our country to fall apart along racial lines,” she said.