Vigil for victim

Pastor Jo Anne Taylor gives the opening speech during a vigil for the victims of an attack in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this week. The event was attended by over 60 people and had representation from several local churches. The aim of the vigil was to show solidarity and spread a message of peace. Staff photo by Clay Schuldt

NEW ULM–A candlelight vigil was held Monday in response to a recent tragedy in Charlottesville, Va.

The vigil took place in prayer garden of the First United Methodist Church just before dusk. Over 60 people attended, including representatives of First United Methodist, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and the Unitarian Church of Hanska and Mayor Robert Beussman.

The vigil was attended by those standing in solidarity with those affected by the tragedy. Their hope is to spread a message of peace, acceptance and love by coming together after a senseless tragedy, according to organizers.

The vigil opened with remarks from Pastor Jo Anne Taylor. She said “we’re here because of an act of hate, but we’re a city of hope. The haters will not win.”

Mayor Beussman addressed the crowd. He was proud of the turnout for the event.

“This is New Ulm,” he said.

He reminded those gathered that this was a city of with strong German heritage, and there was nothing wrong with honoring your heritage, but we should not discriminate against other heritages. We are all of New Ulm and all of America.

Following the speeches, those gathered were encourage to converse with others and discuss ways to come together.

The ceremony closed with an address from Megan Benage. She warned that racism was alive in the 21-century but it can be easily squashed by asserting that hate was not where America stands.

Minnesota is far from Charlottesville and no one knew in New Ulm knew the woman killed in the attack, Heather Heyer, but the vigil was a show of support.

“To stand by silently will not help,” Benage said.