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Community events in Southold Town set to stand up against hate

In the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman protesting a white supremacy rally was killed, events are being planned around the North Fork to address the effects in different ways.

Jim Shaw of Greenport participated in an Aug. 13 gathering in Greenport Village’s Mitchell Park to express solidarity against the hatred and tragedy of the day before, and decided to keep that message going at a rally planned for Thursday, Sept. 7, at 5 p.m. in the same spot.

Mr. Shaw, an electrician, said his job gives him the opportunity to interact with different people around the community and that speaking with them, as well as with friends, showed him that people are upset by what they’ve been seeing, prompting them to ask, “What can I do?”

“I just think this is a way that people can have a healthy outlet and they can feel like they’re a part of something,” Mr. Shaw said.

He said the main takeaway he hopes people will get from the gathering is that “we’re all part of a community and we all have to work together, otherwise we’re all sunk.”

Mr. Shaw said the intention is not to hold a political or “anti-anything” rally, but rather a “pro-us” rally.

“I don’t really want to be against anything,” he said. “I want to be for everyone.”

In addition, Orient Congregational Church will host an interfaith panel on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 4 p.m. and the Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force is considering holding an interfaith vigil for unity and respect outside the church following the discussion.

The task force discussed the events on Monday and discussed what their involvement should be, but did not have a quorum to officially decide. Co-chair Sonia Spar said that whatever statement the group issues should “concentrate on respect and civility for all.”

Co-chair Valerie Shelby echoed that statement.

“I think we should do everything we can to stand up, speak out against hatred, speak up for unity, speak up for respect,” she said.

Photo caption: Jim Shaw, left, and Catherine McFall at an Aug. 13 gathering in Mitchell Park that was organized in response to Charlottesville. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)

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