FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It was a night of singing, a night of remembrance, and a night of light. More than 100 people gathered at the Allen County Courthouse green for a unity vigil in response to this weekend’s violent rally in Charlottesville, VA.
They remembered the woman who died there, 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
“We are here tonight because an evil man may have silenced Heather’s voice, but we will use her memory to make sure people make equality their primary choice,” Rev. Bill McGill said.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re black or white or mixed or something I just want people to be happy,” 9-year-old Lahseya Forte said.
More than half a dozen people spoke at the event including those affected by hate.
“Somehow someway this has got to quit,” Shirley Hardrix said. “I lost my son because of this.”
Last summer Hardrix lost her son Sam. He was killed by a self-described white supremacist.
“That individual chose to do that,” Hardrix said. “His reward was a patch.”
Wednesday night she stood in a sea of races, religions and ages asking everyone to stand with her.
“It’s not going to take one person, it’s not going to take two, it’s not going to take 12, it’s going to take everybody,” Hardrix said. “Regardless of what race you’re born or what country you’re born in, if you’re in America you have to stand up with everybody else.”
The vigil also included a moment of silence. The man who killed Sam Hardrix was sentenced to 65 years in prison.