August 14, 2017
OWEGO N.Y. (WENY) -- On Saturday, white supremacist groups and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in three fatalities.
Monday night in Owego, a group of more than 20 residents gathered outside of the courthouse as a response, to take a stand against Nazism in America.
"We wanted to make sure that folks knew in our area that, without question, we are against these sort of actions and these sort of groups being given the right to exist to thrive and to cause problems in our communities in this country," says Stephen Carpineta, Director of the Tioga County Progressive Committee, which is a chapter of the NY Progressive Action Network.
Former Village of Owego Mayor Kevin Millar, who organized the rally, explains that he decided to take action out of concern Nazism is becoming more prevalent across the country.
"To me, it's kind of scary. People fought against Nazism for six years. Some of these people don't event know what Nazism was in the 1930's and 40's; I don't personally, but my dad fought in the war, had relatives fought in the war in WWII , and it's a disturbing trend," Millar says.
The event, organized through Facebook, called for people to make their own signs to stand up against Nazism and to show they refuse to be separated by race, creed, or national origin.
"Mostly to condemn Nazism and racism and white supremacy. I mean those things really don't belong...John McCain had a good statement, they're not the American way. It's not America. It's not what we want America to be," says Millar.
The group set up shop in front of the entrance to Courthouse Square in order to have ultimate visibility to those entering Owego over the bridge.
Millar says the response was generally supportive.
"The beep and wave quotient was kind of, I would say, positive, 60/40. We didn't get too many fingers or curse words thrown out of doors," Millar says.
Also on Monday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe made a statement about the next steps the city will take after this weekend's events.
Some of the measures include conducting a review on how the city issues rally permits, as well as law enforcement preparation and response to those events.