San Diego leaders and politicians gathered in Balboa Park Tuesday to take a stand against the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
State Senators Toni Atkins, of the 39th District, and Ben Hueso, of the 40th District, were the main speakers at the event, which also included other community leaders.
They discussed how to create unity and peace, and spoke about the family of the woman who was killed Saturday when a man drove into a crowd of counter-protesters at a heated white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
The group announced the "We are United" campaign, which works to ensure equal rights for everyone. San Diego Democratic leaders explored how to combat words of violence and hate starting with action in San Diego.
Atkins criticized President Donald Trump for not taking a stand sooner on the violence going on in Virginia.
In his first statement about the incidents, President Trump said, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of bigotry, hatred, and violence on many sides, on many sides."
Since then, he has returned to his view that "there is blame on both sides," in an impromptu news conference Tuesday. He seemed to undo what he stated a day before.
In response to the unrest in Charlottesville, the senators advocated for peace and unity. Atkins emphasized the importance of celebrating people for their true selves.
"We choose to lift people up and to empower them, to celebrate who they are," said Atkins. "We choose to say that when we live off authentic lives, we thrive."
Hueso said that the root issue causing all the pain and destruction must be addressed before healing can begin.
"We must heal but before we can heal we need to work to get at the disease that’s plaguing our country, to get at this horrible cancer that’s creating so much pain and so much destruction," said Hueso.
Leaders asked the public to write President Trump and their local representatives to speak out against racism and white supremacy.
"We’ve become the largest economy in the world because of our diversity, because of our unity," added Hueso. "And these cowardly individuals are working to tear apart our nation."