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New Mexicans condemn racism, violence in Charlottesville

Joy Wang
August 14, 2017 10:13 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Outrage continues across the country following a deadly weekend during a white nationalist rally in Virginia. President Donald Trump on Monday responded to the attacks, calling out the hate groups by name.

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"Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in the name are criminals and thugs," he said.

Meanwhile, people all over the country are hitting the streets to rally against racism, including in Santa Fe Monday evening, where demonstrators said they are scared at how divisive the country is becoming. 

"As a woman of color I've always felt on the wrong side of things," said Rosemarie Gonzalez-Nielson. "I had hoped that when President Obama had gotten elected that things would change, and that there would be more equity and fairness. Now, it saddens me that we seem to have arrived so far that I don't know how we come back."

The scene in Santa Fe was much different from what the nation saw this weekend when violence rocked Charlottesville.

That crowd was embarrassed and disgusted, but the message is clear. What happened miles away can't happen here.

"I think it's important that we all show our support for folks in Charlottesville and to make a firm stand against all of that nonsense that happened there," rally supporter Kathy Ray said.

Parents brought their children, teaching them the importance of love and respect. Yet, hate has a way of traveling too. That crowd spoke out against hate.

"We've been together for six years and my own father doesn't speak to me anymore because he's black," said Lisa Clark, standing next to her significant other, Richard Reed. "So, yeah, it's in our life every day."

It's a reality many live with, but they say change starts now.

"We'll stand together. We'll stand in unison, in unity, and we support those people and just let them know we're here for them," Ray said.

The rally lasted for about an hour. Toward the end, the crowd was encouraged to hug their neighbors, shake their hands, get to know each other, and call them family.

"We all wake up and we go to work and we come back home, you know. And you know we need to," Reed said. "We need to pull together."

NEW MEXICO POLITICAL FIGURES RESPOND

People not only reacted to the violence in Charlottesville, but also to what one political figure in southern New Mexico posted on Facebook. Over the weekend Doña Ana County Republican Party Chairman Roman Jimenez posted this on Facebook. It has since gone viral:

"These violent, leftist protesters are the brainless robots that are created by evil Soros money. The white ones have been taught to hate their color, the women are taught to hate men, black and minorities want to kill whites and police. They then have the audacity to call conservatives racist. Their own racism, hate and violence has created the divide amongst those that refuse to be bullied on anyone. They're getting exactly what they asked for. A segregated society of groups that they've created and even labeled themselves."

Gov. Susana Martinez called it disappointing.

"Certainly disappointing, but I think that you know I really do believe that what unites us as Americans can never be torn apart by these kinds of groups," she said. "Hateful groups and will keep us strong as Americans for years and decades and centuries to come.

While condemning hate groups, Martinez urged New Mexicans to stand united.

"It's very sad, and I certainly ask New Mexicans to join me in prayer for the people of Charlottesville, Virginia, and of course, our entire country," she said.

Jimenez defended his post, saying he was unaware of that violence before publishing his comment on Facebook.

"I found it confusing because it seemed to be pretty evident in the post that I mentioned this is what the progressive and left had asked for -- a division amongst our country based on race and people took the last part of that comment -- and they used the sentence previous to that and said they got what they asked for," Jimenez told KOB on Sunday night.

Jimenez said his post was taken out of context.

"I regret the fact that I didn't take any consideration that the same hateful groups would take what I said of context and push it out there, and claim that I was condoning people getting killed and claim I condoned violence," he said.

Many federal leaders from New Mexico are sounding off about what's happening in Virginia.

Credits

Joy Wang

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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