Several Illinois communities, including Geneva, held vigils Monday night in response to protests in Charlottesville, Va., becoming violent.
About 80 people sang and shared poems at the Geneva vigil organized by resident Jeannie Scown. She says she organized the event because she’s had enough of white nationalist-, neo-Nazi- and Ku Klux Klan-affiliated people being part of President Donald Trump’s cabinet and presidency, even though he’s denied any ties himself.
“Even though he says he doesn’t, that was about 30 percent of his backing. This is a problem,” Scown said. “We need to take over. We need to take it back, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
Scown says the purpose of the vigil was to educate other residents about racism and other issues after Saturday’s events.
“We have seen a lot of hatred,” Scown said. “We’ve seen things being taken away from the ordinary person.”
North Aurora resident Cori Sparks says she took her kids to the event to teach them what it means to be a constructive member of society.
“Just speaking out for the oppressed, and sharing a message of love and hope and showing that there are people who care and that we’re not going to Hell in a handbasket,” Sparks said.
Other vigils took place Monday night in Naperville, Aurora and McHenry. More were held in other Illinois communities on Sunday, including Sterling, Rockford and DeKalb.
The Illinois Senate also passed a resolution Sunday to label white supremacist groups as terrorist organizations.