HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Members of the community are coming together to take a stand against negative rhetoric and most recently- the rise in anti-Semitic threats.
Sunday afternoon, people of all faiths and backgrounds gathered at the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery.
It was in front of those grave sites that a Holocaust survivor shared his story and his fears of what society could turn into if hate continues to spread.
“I never expected 70 years after the war to see back this type of hate,” said Holocaust survivor, Dr. Roger Loria.
As a child during the Holocaust, Dr. Roger Loria was the sole survivor on his father’s side.
“Hate is easy but tolerance we have to teach,” Dr. Loria said.
He said the recent rise in anti-Semitic threats feels a bit like history is repeating itself.
“It’s like we are going backward instead of advancing again,” Dr. Loria said. “We are glorifying ignorance and supporting hate.”
He said that’s why events like this are so important so everyone can feel included.
“You see such a great response of the community, of the entire community. That is very welcome,” Dr. Loria said.
Those who attended said they felt called to do something to show they cared.
“This is about support and positivity and love and not hate,” said Henrico resident Andrea Nachman. “If you want things to be a certain way you have to model that.”
They said it is important to not be a silent bystander.
“I think because it’s so easy not to come, that you have to step up and stand up for things,” said Henrico resident Holly Markhoff.
Their hope is that this is only just the beginning.
“Hopefully it will snowball and each event will be larger and larger and more and more people will get involved and be aware,” Nachman said.
The event was put on by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.