Courts & Corrections

Rutland in solidarity with Charlottesville: ‘You can’t stop standing up’

Tabitha Pohl-Moore
Tabitha Pohl-Moore, president of the Rutland Area NAACP, spoke Monday night at rally in Rutland to show solidarity with Charlottesville, Virginia.

RUTLAND — Tabitha Pohl-Moore said people must speak up when confronted with hate and violence.

The president of the Rutland Area NAACP did just that Monday evening.

And she wasn’t alone.

About 200 people joined Pohl-Moore at a rally on Monday led by the NAACP in Rutland to show solidarity with protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, who were victims of a terrorism attack last weekend.

The killing occurred Saturday after violent clashes between neo-Nazis, who were armed with clubs and semi-automatic weapons, and counter protesters over a plan to take down a statue of Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee.

A driver rammed his sports car into crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing a 32-year-old woman, and injuring 19. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, a neo-Nazi, now faces a murder charge.

The Rutland demonstrators denounced white nationalist rhetoric and violence and held a moment of silence for Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed.

Laura Abel, 64, of Brandon, attended the Rutland event wearing a T-shirt reading, “More Love, Less Hate.” She said the violence in Charlottesville was “horrifying.”

“This is not acceptable and this cannot continue. We’ve got to change things,” Abel said. “There’s no choice. There has to be change. If not, the planet is not going to exist anymore.”

Jane Callahan, 61, of Rutland, stood near Abel in the park and held a sign calling for an end to racism.

“When something like this happens, it just sort of floors me,” Callahan said. “It just reminds me that things haven’t changed fast enough.”

David Liebtag, 59, of Chester, traveled north to Rutland with a sign with one word on it, “Love.”

“I’m outraged that such racism and bigotry still exists in our country. It’s completely unacceptable,” he said. “I believe in love. it’s the only thing I can be sure I believe in so I got a sign that says that.”

Pohl-Moore spoke to the crowd in Main Street Park about why they had come together.

“Saturday night I fired off a lengthy text to board members saying, ‘We’ve got to do something in Rutland because I know we don’t stand for this here,’” Pohl-Moore said. “And, here we are.”

The Rutland solidarity rally was one of many in recent days across the country, including several in Vermont.

“The convergence of the KKK, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups upon the University of Virginia has prompted our natural inclination to look to our community to try to make sense of these developments,” Pohl-Moore told the Rutland crowd.

“I will make this easy for you,” she continued. “It doesn’t make sense and it won’t ever make sense because hate doesn’t make sense.”

Speaking prior to the rally, Pohl-Moore said people must take action in their everyday lives to stop hate when they see it.

“You could certainly question every time you hear somebody say an inappropriate joke that’s about race or sexual orientation or physical ability,” she said. “We absolutely in our day-to-day lives and personal relationships have to challenge those ideals that breed hate.”

She also criticized President Donald Trump’s tepid response. The president told reporters that “many sides” were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville. “He had a stronger reaction to his daughter’s shoes being removed from Nordstrom than he did to this massive incident of hate,” Pohl-Moore said.

Rabbi Doug Weber, retired from the Rutland Jewish Center, also addressed the crowd Monday evening.

“You can’t stop standing up,” he said. “It’s very clear from our history that all it takes, all that the forces of darkness need, is for the average people to sit back and let it happen.”

The event ended with people forming a large circle, joining hands and singing, “We Shall Overcome.”

“There is a visible presence of people that stand against hate here,” Pohl-Moore said after the rally. “This is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to bring together people in unity and love.”

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  • Edward Letourneau

    I wonder how many of these people liked the movie the Stepford wives. That is the type of society they want — whether they know it or not.

  • Edward Letourneau

    Listen there will always be idiots in society. What you are accomplishing with a protest is nothing more than making yourself feel better. Its not changing society, and if it did, you would have a stepford society.

    • Dominic Cotignola

      The problem is when these idiots get ruling power. Never mind, I’ll let the history books and the history cable channel explain that to some.

    • Townsend Peters

      Wrong. Protest works. See Health Care Fail.

      As for creating a Stepford society, diversity is the exact opposite.

  • Mike McNally

    I know it demands some sense of the current context, but the phrase BLACK LIVES MATTER exists because although it is assumed in society that ALL LIVES MATTER, Black People die at abnormally high rates to police violence anyways. Please put yourself in a Black person’s shoes before dismissing their struggle. The same goes for other minority groups, many types of people are left out of the ALL LIVES MATTER idea even though we all supposedly believe it is true.

    People in our society neglect Black Lives while saying “All Lives Matter.” That bias needs correcting.

  • Rich Lachapelle

    Half the infrastructure of West Virginia is named for Rob’t Byrd, a man who Hillary Clinton once called her mentor. Who should be more reviled in history, people who lived in the time when slavery existed as law or a 20th century public servant who was a paid recruiter for the KKK and should have known better? Mr. Trump is not being ridiculous or rhetorical when he asks what is next to be torn down: the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument? The democrat party historically was home to those who wished to maintain slavery and segregation and the KKK was their militant wing. The republican party was founded by abolitionists.
    The anarchist left and the mainstream media are chronically unhinged, most recently because Mr. Trump has not parsed his words to their satisfaction.
    Get over it.

  • rosemariejackowski

    Thank you. Great comment.

    The last time I said: “All lives matter”, I was attacked. Now I say: “All deaths matter”. It confuses them.

  • Frank Beardsley

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten,
    every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has
    been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing
    day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists
    except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” – George
    Orwell “1984”

    Since most students aren’t required to read in order to graduate, it’s not at all surprising at the insanity now enveloping the country.

  • Rich Lachapelle

    How specifically does he “cater to” caucasian males? He is associated by the leftist media with white supremacists…based on what? He is then expected to utter a specific disassociation from nazis and white supremacists as if he needs to distinguish himself from them. How has he in any way associated himself with a nazi philosophy? He has a daughter who married a Jewish man, converted to Judaism and gave birth to a Jewish daughter, Mr. Trump’s own granddaughter. Do you really believe he hates his own granddaughter? Will Keith Ellison, moslem member of the US House, D-Minnesota be expected to utter a statement and distance himself from his fellow moslems because of the obvious act of jihadist violence that took place in Barcelona? Double standards…fake news…rinse, repeat.
    There was plenty of violence in Charlottesville VA being perpetrated by BOTH sides, and only one side had a permit for a demonstration.

    • David Bell

      By claiming their jobs were “stolen” by latinos, attacking civil rights organizations, making ludicrous promises to bring back manufacturing jobs and overtly declaring his admiration of confederate symbols.

      The fact based media associates him to white supremacists based on (among other things) the comments he just made defending white supremacist protesters who murdered someone.

      I have no idea if he hates his own granddaughter, what makes you so certain he does not?

      And right wingers like Trump have called on literally every Muslim in this country to disassociate themselves from jihadist groups for over a decade. Have you really never seen right wingers say these things?

      Just shouting fake news does not make it so. Trump tied himself to white supremacists and now balks a the notion of condemning them. But hey, the Nazis had a permit, so that makes it ok, right?

  • David Bell

    Only if you believe Trump’s “alternative facts” are just as good as the real thing.

  • David Bell

    No, I am stating a fact. The right wing …but Washington… but Jefferson meme makes no sense. Neither fought a war to defend the institution of slavery.

    Tearing down statues of people who fought to defend slavery does not change history; it reflects the fact that this aspect of our history is something to be ashamed of, not praised.

    But hey, if calling me stupid for pointing this out makes you feel better, keep it up.

  • Daphne Black

    Interesting that you have to go back many decades and discuss a dead man.

    Live in the present, it’s refreshing.