Monday, July 22, 2024

A Rally for Unity held in February at City Hall drew an estimated 300 people.

City officials, reacting to the violence and deaths resulting from a white supremacist rally held over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., plan a unity rally for 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

“In the wake of the horrific events on Saturday,” said a Sunday announcement by Mayor E. Denise Simmons and City Manager Louis DePasquale, “Cambridge will come together for a unity rally. The fear, divisiveness and intolerance that we have seen are not Cambridge values.”

The “Cambridge Stands with Charlottesville” rally will not be the first time city officials have gathered people  to respond to a Trump-era challenge to their values. A “Rally for Unity” was held in February after the White House made a first attempt at restrictive immigration policies that rattled many in Cambridge and Somerville. “The xenophobia and bigotry coming from our White House makes us feel less safe and has begun to pit us against each other,” Simmons said at the time. “But communities like Cambridge, like Somerville, like Boston, are taking a stand and shouting ‘This is not who we are.’”

In April, the steps of City Hall hosted a rally protesting White House failures to acknowledge and confront climate change.

While the Monday event at City Hall is being held “to come together and stand for social justice, tolerance and equality,” Black Lives Matter Cambridge is joining in more aggressive steps to counter a planned gathering of white supremacists on Boston Common on Saturday. Black Lives Matter Cambridge and others – Violence In Boston, Angie Camacho, the Black Lives Matter Network and Black Lives Matter Boston – have organized a counter protest from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday starting at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont St., Boston.

As of Sunday afternoon, the counter protest initiated by Monica Cannon of the Violence In Boston group had drawn some 2,800 commitments from Facebook users to take part. By Monday afternoon, the figure was close to 5,000.

This post was updated Aug. 14, 2017, to note Monica Cannon’s leadership in creating the Saturday event and update figures of those interested in attending.