WESTFIELD, NJ — Nearly 150 people attended a “Stand with Charlottesville” vigil at Westfield’s Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial Sunday night. The Westfield event — one of many held Sunday after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, ended in violence — was organized in a matter of hours by Lydia Kaplan and Pam Brug, members of Westfield 20/20, a group of Westfielders concerned about the election of Donald Trump as President.
Kaplan was not surprised when her Facebook post about the creation of the vigil Sunday sparked an immediate response.
“This needed to happen,” she said. “It was just a matter of making an announcement.”
Among those who spoke were Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Temple Emanu-El’s senior rabbi, Douglas Sagal.
Skibitsky referenced Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“The fact that we have so many people here in Westfield after the horrible, terrible events yesterday gives me hope that there is more light in this world than darkness,” Skibitksky said.
Shelley Brindle, Democratic candidate for mayor of Westfield, also spoke:
“I would encourage all of us, through events like this — stay outraged, pay attention and stay courageous,” Brindle said. “It’s moments like this which people come together that really gives us hope, and that really is the light that Mayor Skibitsky talked about.”