TOMS RIVER – On Monday night, demonstrators held a candlelight vigil where several candidates and community members spoke out in response to the recent terrorist attack at a demonstration in Charlottesville, VA.
“So since our president has such a difficult time in saying what needs to be said, I would like you to join me, as we the people, in saying what needs to be said,” said Jim Keady, the Democrat challenging longtime Representative Chris Smith (R – Va.) in the fourth congressional district in this year’s campaign.
Last year, Keady unsuccessfully sought the nomination in the third congressional district, where he was defeated by Burlington County’s Fred LaVergne. LaVergne lost the general election to MacArthur, who Democrats will challenge once again in 2018.
Keady asked the crowd of attendees to repeat after him as he made statements condemning both the perpetrators of the Charlottesville and the response to the terror attack by President Donald Trump.
“They were radical white supremacists,” Keady shouted into a megaphone, and the crowd shouted back.
“They were violent and hateful,” Keady and the crowd continued.
“They were Neo-Nazis and the KKK.”
“They have no place in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
“They have no place in these United States.”
“That, President Trump is how you speak truth about the reality that we have seen in our nation in the last few days,” the congressional candidate concluded.
Michael Cooke, a 10th District Democratic state assembly candidate, also spoke at the vigil and emphasized the struggle of racial minorities to achieve equality under the law, citing his experience as a practicing attorney.
“People of color have consistently been the scapegoat for 300 years,” said Cooke as he addressed the crowd.
Cooke had a brief gaffe over his statement that there weren’t any people of color at the vigil in Downtown Toms River. “I wish there was even just one here,” he said, “One person other than all the white people here who can give voice to what they feel in this country,” Cooke said before correcting himself after audience members pointed out that there were in fact people of color in the audience.
TR High School Dems. Organizer: Young People Need To Get Involved In Politics
“I just think that if everybody – whether you’re young or old – got involved now and started to speak up now, we can stop a lot of this hate that’s growing,” said Zachary Dougherty, the organizer of the Toms River High School North Democrats, in his remarks to attendees of Monday’s event.
“There’s always going to be hate, there’s always going to be evil in every generation, but we can’t control that. What we can control is how strong it is whether it be now or 10 years from now.”