CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — It’s been four years since white supremacists descended upon Charlottesville for the “Unite the Right” rally. This deadly rally took the lives of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates.
Gov. Ralph Northam and other state leaders remember Aug. 12 because it was the day that forced Virginia State Police to declare an unlawful assembly. It happened in 2017 when counter-protesters and white nationalists clashed in Market Street Park.
During that day, one self-proclaimed white supremacist, James Fields Jr., drove his Dodge Charger through a crowd of protesters on 4th and Waters Street. Fields struck Heyer and killed her. He will spend life in prison.
A debate over whether to keep the Robert E. Lee statue up or take it down sparked the “Unite the Right” rally that led to this deadly day.
On Thursday, the governor and state leaders released statements regarding the anniversary.
Four years ago, white nationalist violence erupted in Charlottesville and resulted in the deaths of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates. Today we pause to honor them and all of the lives forever changed that day. Sadly, white nationalist violence has increased since then, and we continue to grapple with the realities and impacts of systemic racism — even as some pretend it does not exist.
These past four years have also seen great progress. Across the Commonwealth, monuments to white supremacy have come down — including in Charlottesville just last month. Protests for racial justice continue to lead to real and lasting change. These are reasons for hope. There are more people who want justice and healing, fairness and equality, than those who want to hide history and promote hate. We have much work to do, and I have faith that we have the will to ensure that hate has no home in Virginia.Gov. Ralph Northam
This statement was attached to a Facebook post on the Governor’s page.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine responded to the deadly rally anniversary on his Facebook page.
Four years ago today, a group of white nationalists descended upon Charlottesville filled with hate and bigotry. On this day, we remember the lives tragically cut short following the deadly rally, including Heather Heyer and State Troopers Jay Cullen and Berke Bates.
In May, President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which included provisions of my Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Act to improve hate crimes reporting and support victims of hate crimes. No one should live in fear of facing discrimination, hate, or violence. We must honor Heather’s legacy by continuing the work to stamp out hate. Our communities are stronger when we join together to stand up for justice.U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner is also remembering this four year anniversary that left a mark in history across the Commonwealth.
It’s been 4 years since white nationalists spread their messages of bigotry and hate in Charlottesville. Their rally led to Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, & Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates tragically losing their lives, today I remember them, & their families, & stand with the community who is still healing from the attack. I’m committed doing more to fight domestic violence terrorism.U.S. Sen. Mark Warner
Attorney General Mark Herring released a statement surrounding the four year anniversary of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally.
4 years ago, White supremacists came to Charlottesville fueled with hate, murdering Heather Heyer and injuring many others.
Virginia continues to show our courage and resilience in the face of hate but this tragedy reminds us of the continued battle against racism & extremists.Attorney General Mark Herring
Below is more background information regarding the deadly rally that took the lives of Heyer, Cullen, and Bates:
- RELATED: 3 years later, Heather Heyer’s mother reflects on deadly Charlottesville rally
- RELATED: Remembering Heather Heyer
- RELATED: Celebration of life for Trooper Burke Bates
- RELATED: Bill advances to name bridge after Trooper-Pilot killed responding to Charlottesville unrest
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