FORT MYERS, Fla. Demonstrators gathered in peace Tuesday night following deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The crowd could be heard from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. across downtown Fort Myers chanting in unison, “People want freedom, they wants answers, they want action and they want it now.”
The peace rally hit home for Alicia Shaw, of Fort Myers.
“It brings me back to my childhood and it saddens me that here I am as a 70-year-old black woman in America and we are still talking about the KKK, white supremacy, and hate groups,” Shaw said.
Shaw reminds her grandson, who will start Saturday as a freshman at the University of Virginia, to be proud of his color.
“I mentioned to him, hate can be anywhere, you can always be vigilant. More importantly my grandfather, his great-great-grandfather was a slave in Virginia. For him to be admitted and to be a student at the University of Virginia gives us all hope,” Shaw said.
Robert Hilliard, Word War II veteran, witnessed hate first hand in the 1930s.
“I see what happened in Charlottesville, where you had Nazis marching with torches, exactly the same kind of thing happened in Germany,” Hilliard said.
There are more than 900 hate groups actively operating across the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Two of the 63 in Florida are in Lee County — The Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ in Fort Myers and the Ku Klos Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Cape Coral.
WINK News reporter Kelsey Kushner was live on Facebook at the rally: