Local leaders are joining a “chorus” of voices across the country decrying the violence that left one woman dead and several others injured after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. turned deadly over the weekend.

The event, which was dubbed “Unite the Right,” drew several hundred people, many associated with known hate groups like neo-nazi organizations and the Ku Klux Klan. The intent was to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee, but several days of publicity ahead of the event prompted large numbers of counter protesters as well.

While skirmishes were reported between attendees from both sides, the incident came to a head when James Alex Fields Jr., — a 20-year-old man from Ohio — allegedly drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter protesters, killing one and injuring at least 19 others.

President Donald Trump has been taking criticism for his response, which called the incident an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” but made no mention of the event’s roots in white supremacy.

Trump later gave a more-pointed condemnation at a press conference Monday afternoon, though political leaders in Mobile had already beat him to the punch locally.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

“There is no place for hate and there is no place for the white supremacists who espouse it — not in Charlottesville, not in Mobile and not in America,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement Sunday night. “While we strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from our thoughts and actions, these incidents remind us that we still have a long way to go.”

At Monday’s meeting of the Mobile County Commission, President Merceria Ludgood also added her voice to the cries for condemnation. As someone who’s been a “counter-protester facing an angry mob of Klan members,” she said the events in Charlottesville were “not new.”

“I know those people out there sincerely believe that being a non-Jewish Caucasian makes them superior to everyone else in the world. I know that,” Ludgood said. “But, I also know that there are many people who look like them who feel differently. Who believe that all persons are created equal, who have lived and died to ensure liberty and justice for all. Who serve a God who says that in Him, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, Slave nor Free, male nor female.”

Mobile County Commission President Merceria Ludgood.

While Stimpson offered “thoughts (and) prayers,” Ludgood seemed to push a more active approach, asking “white people in Mobile County to join with people of color” in sending a message to “the architects of hate who have hamstrung progress in this state for generations.”

“The message is simple: You don’t speak for me. Silence says you agree,” Ludgood added. “If you disagree with the politics of hate, it is time to say so.”

Full copies of the statements released by Stimpson and Ludgood are available below:


Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson —

“My thoughts and my prayers are with those affected by the terrible acts of violence in Charlottesville. There is no place for hate and there is no place for the white supremacists who espouse it – not in Charlottesville, not in Mobile and not in America. While we strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from our thoughts and actions, these incidents remind us that we still have a long way to go. When we treat every person with dignity and respect, we continue the journey toward One Mobile. I ask for God’s covering upon our city, state and nation, and particularly upon those who are grieving tonight in Virginia.”


Mobile County Commission President Merceria Ludgood —

“Before we invoke the name of God, and before we pledge our loyalty to the flag:

I am compelled to lend my voice to the chorus of others who have spoken out against the hatred and bigotry so evident in the white supremacy demonstrations last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. But this is not new. I have seen it all my life. I have been the counter-protester facing an angry mob of Klan members.

And as I followed the news coverage, I asked myself what else should I be doing. I know those people out there sincerely believe that being non-Jewish caucasian makes them superior to everyone else in the world. I know that. But, I also know that there are many people who look like them who feel differently. Who believe that all persons are created equal, who have lived and died to ensure liberty and justice for all. Who serve a God who says that in Him, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, Slave nor Free, male nor female.

And so, this morning, I am asking — if you disagree with the politics of hate, it is time to say so. I am asking white people in Mobile County to join with people of color in this county and sending a message — to the architects of hate who have hamstrung progress in this state for generations.

It’s time to send them a message. The message is simple: You don’t speak for me. Silence says you agree… so make some noise — on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or any of the others I don’t know anything about. It’s time to make some noise and say you don’t speak for me.”