Organizers are planning two rallies tonight in Salt Lake in response to a white nationalist protest that turned violent over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va.
The first rally takes place at 5:30 tonight at the Utah State Capitol. It’s being sponsored by the Utah GOP, Salt Lake County Republican Party and Buckshot Caucus.
Organizers are billing the event as a unity rally with speakers from both the Republican and Democratic party. Rep. Mia Love, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Democratic state lawmaker Sandra Hollins are expected to speak.
Rob Anderson, chairman of the Utah GOP, says the idea popped up in conversations on Facebook over the weekend — as white nationalists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis fueled violent protests in Virginia, leaving one woman dead.
“And it just kind of hit us as the right thing to do to show that that doesn’t represent the majority of Americans, and specifically Utahns who are warm and welcoming people,” he says.
The Utah League of Native American Voters is holding a separate rally starting at 7 p.m. at the Salt Lake County building on State Street.
Moroni Benally is a co-founder of the organization and says their event will be centered on hearing from people of color who’ve experienced racism.
“And for those coming tonight, if they’re expecting to hear joyous phrases of peace, love and happiness, they probably won’t,” he says. “What they’re going to hear [are] voices that...come from a position of fear, that come from a position of frustration, fatigue and anger about what is happening.”
Benally says that includes speakers from the Black Lives Matter Movement, Hispanic and Latino, Jewish and LGBTQ communities.