Protesters rallied for the second consecutive evening in front of the White House on Monday, condemning white supremacy and calling on the Trump administration to take a more hard-line stance against it.
The rally, organized on Facebook by local college students, comes in response to violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville over the weekend that claimed the life of counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32. In a separate incident, two Virginia state troopers monitoring the protest were killed when their helicopter crashed in nearby woods.
Protesters trickled in after work on Monday, carrying signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Make Racists Afraid Again.” The young organizers invited anyone to “vent or rant,” particularly encouraging people of color and those with disabilities to speak. People discussed their experiences with racism and discrimination, as well as how they want to counter it.
“We will not stop until this type of white supremacy is removed from our country,” said Jason Charter, an activist who also attended the counterprotest Saturday in Charlottesville.
Trump denounced the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name Monday, declaring racist hate groups “criminals and thugs” and “repugnant to all that we hold dear.”
The president’s statement on Monday came amid mounting criticism from Republicans and Democrats to his initial response. On Saturday, Trump condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” but he did not single out and condemn the white supremacists by name.
Patty Pablo, 20, who helped to organize Monday’s rally, said Trump’s words earlier in the day were too little, too late.
“If it takes you three days, it’s a reflection of how you feel,” she said.
Pablo, an immigrant from the Philippines, said she decided to organize a protest on Facebook after watching news unfold Saturday and feeling helpless.
“I’m a person of color and an immigrant. These things affect me,” she said. “I felt hurt and helpless.”
Seven-year-old Bridget Niven briefly took the megaphone to address the crowd, saying “I came here today for love. I’m so sad that so many people are dying.”
On Sunday, several hundred protesters rallied in front of the White House and held a moment of silence for the three who died Saturday. Protesters then marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the Trump International Hotel and toward the statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike.
Vigils also took place Sunday in Richmond and Charlottesville.