Local activists gather in response to Charlottesville attacks


A crowd of more than 250 people gathered in Cottonwood Creek Park in Encinitas on the evening of Aug. 13 for the Love is Louder March and unity event to honor and stand in solidarity with the victims and those impacted by the cruel and racists events in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend.

Organized by The Wagon Circle, an activist and Indivisible group in North County, founder Lisa Nava spoke of overcoming fear and standing up and being visible and vocal against the hatred and bigotry that has come forth and become emboldened in the wake of the new administration’s policies and rhetoric.

“I have never stepped foot, not one time in my life, into fear, and yet I am scared for every brother and sister in America... but I am more hopeful than scared, I will not allow my fear to stop me, I will stand behind all my brothers and sisters of color, I will amplify their voices,” Nava said.

Community faith leaders from various religious denominations led the crowd in prayer and also spoke to the idea of embracing love and acceptance at this time as well as action and peace.

Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson from Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship said, “We are rooted in the religious and ethical traditions that call us to a greater more radical love, a sacrificial love, a love that will put us out and be inconvenient at times.”

Yusef Miller, board member of the Islamic Society of North County, also spoke to the pressing need of love and acceptance of everyone regardless of the color of their skin, texture of their hair or where they are from, and the need for action.

“We pray that we can move our feet,” he said. “Give us the strength to move our feet, move our hands, move our mouths. We must stand up for justice. Because justice without people in action will not win.”

Wagon Circle member Maria Al-Shamma spoke out against the inaction of white people in the wake of the history of racism in the U.S. and how it is still prevalent today.

“People of color have been fighting this every day of their lives,” she said. “If you are white you benefit from racism every day, even if you are not racist. We need to fight like hell against those who act on racism with their hateful protests and discriminatory laws. Silence and lack of action is complicit.”

The crowd, consisting of all ages, including many families with small children, held hands and formed a large circle while observing a moment of silence to honor Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer. They then marched to the four corners of Coast Highway 101 and Encinitas Boulevard carrying banners and signs with messages of love and chanting words to end hate, bigotry, racism and violence.

Hundreds of cars honked in support of the people gathered on the corners and the chanting and singing lasted an hour. The group then marched up to the corner of Highway 101 and D street then back down and up to Cottonwood Creek Park where a candlelight vigil was held and closing remarks were had. Many walked away commenting on the power and emotion felt throughout the evening and how it made them feel empowered to do more to combat racism and bigotry.

To contact The Wagon Circle for more information and how to get involved in future actions, visit or contact Lisa Nava

— Submitted news release