‘Lights of Love’ unity rally calls for peace and love


JACKSON, Tenn. —  In the aftermath of the weekend of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, church and community leaders joined forces to host a unity rally promoting love for all.

The protests that turned violent in Charlottesville are causing some nationwide to promote peace and healing. In less than 24 hours, two local youth pastors organized a “Lights of Love” Unity Rally.

Many attendees held signs promoting peace and love.

“People from all genders, people from all races, people from all sections just coming together and showing love and support,” attendee Glenda Carter said.

The West Tennessee Farmers Market was filled with rally attendees, proclaiming the city of Jackson is a safe place for people of all backgrounds to live in peace.

“This is not going to be a place characterized by violence and hatred and racism and bigotry,” organizer David Knack said. “But instead its going to be a place that’s characterized by love towards others by making it a safe place for people from a diverse walk of life.”

The “Lights of Love” Unity Rally was an opportunity to stand together in solidarity.

“As a parent, we want to make sure we set a good example for her to know that this world is beautiful, and we have to love everyone,” attendee Megan Gaylord-Cole said.

Organizers said they do not want what happened in Charlottesville to be a representation of how the world should be.

“This is just another step along that path of becoming a place where everyone has a seat at the table,” Knack said. “And everyone has an equal opportunity because that’s the goal. But that’s not where we are yet.”

Local youth pastors, David Knack and Christian Hesling, invited several church and community leaders to the event. Many participated in prayer as well as sharing how the events in Charlottesville affected them personally.

“It’s very easy to respond with hatred and just kind of post online and do all these things,” organizer Christian Hesling said. “We’re trying to provide another opportunity for people to respond in a different way.”

Attendees lit candles at the end of the rally representing how through darkness, comes light. Church leaders also prayed for the three victims who lost their lives over the weekend.

Organizers said they hope the unity rally sparks a conversation throughout the community about how to continue to promote love and peace for all.

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