At 20, Fatima Gomez has always thought of Nazi and KKK rallies as something she would read about in history class. So the white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday shocked her.

“I never thought I would experience in my lifetime seeing something like this,” she said.

As a person of color she felt she needed to get off her couch and do something. So she attended a rally against hate Monday in front of the Douglas County Courthouse in Roseburg.

About 90 people joined the rally, bearing signs saying things like “Resist Hate” and “We Stand with Charlottesville.”

“There’s tremendous hatred in this country that I call home. We’re in 2017. This shouldn’t be a thing anymore,” Gomez said.

The demonstration was organized by Common Ground Coalition of Douglas County.

Chairwoman Alana Lenihan said the idea began with three people communicating online, saying they felt they needed to do something after the white nationalist event, which ended in the death of a counter-protester.

“I know that a lot of people were really struggling emotionally with what happened,” she said.

Lenihan gave a short speech in which she denounced the violence that led to the death of Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, after a white nationalist allegedly plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters.

Lenihan said she was hopeful because hundreds of rallies against racism had been held in communities around the country in response to Saturday’s events.

“It’s important that we unite and send a message to other racists and fascists out there we will win, and we are bonded together in our commitment against oppression. We need to remember that we are a community first and that’s what matters, and everyone in our community deserves a voice,” Lenihan said.

Afterward, most of the people at the rally marched around the courthouse lawn, many carrying signs and chanting slogans like “Resist, resist, Americans against hate and violence.”

Retired Cpl. Jeremy Salter, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, held a sign that said “Stop Pretending Your Racism is Patriotism.”

“We’re really seeing a disgusting side of the country,” he said of the events in Charlottesville. He wished he could say he was surprised by what happened Saturday, but he wasn’t.

Salter said when he served America, he served all Americans, regardless of race or national origin.

“That’s all secondary,” he said. “We’re all Americans first.”

Emmett Myers, 18, said it was important to him to attend and stand up for people’s rights.

“As a transgender individual that’s dating a Latina girl, this affected me emotionally,” he said. “I needed to be here to emotionally connect with people who agreed with me.”

Virginia Roth, co-founder of Indivisible Roseburg, said everyone in that group was encouraged to join the rally.

“We’re really incensed about the Charlottesville event and how (President Donald) Trump hasn’t come out and said anything against the white nationalists. We’re really upset about that,” she said.

She said what she wanted the president to say was that “white nationalists definitely have no place in our democracy.”

Racisim is hateful and evil, she said, and should be stomped out.

Trump was criticized for his Saturday remarks about the incident, in which he condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” instead of singling out white nationalists. On Monday, he directly criticized hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis, saying “racism is evil” and called people who cause violence in its name “criminals and thugs.”

Jane Addis Docken said she was horrified when she found out what happened in Charlottesville.

“I think it’s a scary time for people of color,” she said.

John Aschim said what happened in Virginia this weekend “needs to be protested by all responsible citizens.”

Fawn Newton held up a sign saying “LOVE,” while Rindy Hart held up one saying “We are Love.”

“We’re trying to spread some love in a world that’s gone really cold,” Hart said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(10) comments

worldpeace

This Jeremy Salter "marine corps veteran" is a retired corporal ? You don't get to retirement age by staying a corporal. How did he get our of the USMC ? Some options are : Dishonorably discharged, some kind of "medical" discharge, perhaps living on a very generous disability pension from the VA? Did he ever fight in a real war, like I did, or one of his own imagination ?

A real Marine would have served to protect our freedoms, the foremost is the freedom of speech. Right ?

A real marine isn't someone who would be using the worn-out N*zi/KKK bogeyman cliche. The real danger to our country and our children are the left wing fanatics who beat down anyone who disagrees with their plans to turn our country into an overcrowded, impossibly divided, and desperately poor third-world country.

InDWoods

"Resist, resist....": Sounds to me like just another anti-Trump group looking for a reason to march and carry signs. Like it or not, Trump was right on this subject. Both the National Socialists and Antifa groups were equally responsible for the general violence of the day. Saying it was only the fault of the National Socialists ignores the fact that both sides were there spoiling for a fight.

exdep425

***The computer locked me up last night, locked me out, then posted my opinion before I could edit/finish it. All I had to say, referred to the rally people at the courthouse. The rest of it should say: Was the lady devastated by armed robbers that kill people for $10. Was she ever devastated by any cop killings, or the daily multitudes of child kidnappings, sexual assaults, or serial killings? According to her she has only been devastated one time, for one reason. I say these people just wanted to single out one incident and go parade around for some 'news' recognition. They are too specific in their intentions. They do not make reference to other incidents where society has lost people, by means of violence, because those are not headline grabbers. Their so-called cause loses credibility as they are picking and choosing what they want to 'rally' about. What about local murders, do they rally at the courthouse about them? No. If they are out in the public view, doing their 'rally', then they should expect others to criticize their actions.

exdep425

***Someone made a comment about person's of color. I am white and that is a color too. Why not rally against all murders, instead of being selective? Was this one better for getting some recognition? There are hundreds of other murders every day, yet no one rally's or protests about them. Do they not matter? Racism is not illegal, unless applied during intimidation or other types of crime. Another coalition....that is special. The car killer in Charlottesville, did not single out anyone by color, he ran right through the middle of a crowd. How can you call that racism? The people at this rally, seem very selective in their causes. One even said she was devastated by the incident. My question is, was she devastated by the immigrants that died in the truck trailer 2 weeks ago? How about people killed by armed

Mogie

Who are you referring to?

Mogie

I don't understand racism. It doesn't make sense. The color of someone's skin doesn't mean a thing. Just like the color of someone's eyes doesn't mean anything. What counts is if they are a good person or not. The whole racism thing is not logical. If people hate darker skinned folks why do so many lay out in the sun and try to get a suntan?

sprtcuz

Oregonians don't tan... we rust! We've all been in the 20 items or less lane at the store, and someone in front has a full shopping cart with coupons and a check book. The very first thought is to hate them. Hate a universal defense mechanism for human interaction when we do not tolerate each other. Another fun fact about human relationships: the fastest way to get divorced is to get married... you're already halfway to a divorce once you say I do.

exdep425

***Great comments there sprtcuz. Simple down to earth explanations. You should comment more often.

exdep425

***Mogie. I have been called a racist many times over the years and I believe only because I wore a uniform. But, I have Chippewa Indian blood lines (not much), I was married to a Nipomo Indian and my present lady friend is full Chinese. How the heck could I be racist? People that scream racism, are doing it to get attention. Only Lib/Dem extremists run around with signs and calling other people racists. It is a crowd thing. One person points to the horizon, then others join and see what the first one sees......which is actually nothing. Mogie, I am dark skinned, probably from some of the Indian heritage and race baiters still threw off the cuff remarks at me. They were all wrong, they just wanted to point fingers and then run. If you were to stop and ask those people at the courthouse individually, without others nearby, how to explain their thoughts and opinions, most will stutter and try to remember things they heard, whether factual or not. So, why did so many people call me a racist even though I appear to have dark skin and they did not know me? They just wanted to stigmatize someone and I was the first in their path. Does that help at all?

Mogie

That is like someone saying "I am not racist I have black friends". The color of someones skin should be irrelevant. It is the condition of their heart (if they are a good person or not) that matters. Jerks and asssholes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Should you be commended because you know someone of different descent then you? If you look close enough you will see we are different in one way or another. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You don't have to like what they say but they have a right to say it.

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