After a day of violence, expressions of love appeared in Alexandria.
Residents placed electric votive candles along the curb outside George Washington Middle School, the school closest to the ballpark. The lights stretched the whole block.
“Our light will shine even in the darkness of hate," said the local pastor who coordinated a vigil outside the school.
Adults held hands while children grabbed crayons to decorate a banner of support. Organizers said they were taking back their community form the hate that pushed it into the headlines, hoping their signs of solidarity will heal the divisions that they say led us here.
“There are so many divisions and we need to respect each other," said council member John Chapman. "We are a welcoming and open community and if you’re an outsider then you’re going to be welcomed here and you will befriend people because that’s how we are regardless of their intentions, whether they be good or bad for the community.”
“Sadly, some people take advantage of that,” he added.
Nearly 300 people rallied in three different vigils including pet owners who frequent the dog park near the crime scene.