Fresno churches hold special service in wake of Charlottesville violence

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The tragedy claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. She was crossing the street when a Dodge Challenger tore into a crowd of protesters during a counter protest to a rally by white nationalists. (KFSN)

Two Fresno churches are remembering the tragic attack in Charlottesville that injured dozens and killed a young woman.

Songs of peace echoed through the sanctuary at Saint Paul Catholic Newman Center while community members lit candles and prayed for the victims of the Charlottesville, Virginia attack.

The tragedy claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. She was crossing the street when a Dodge Challenger tore into a crowd of protesters during a counter protest to a rally by white nationalists.

Nearly 20 others were injured - five critically hurt. Churchgoer Lanny Larson says the hatred, racism and violence needs to stop.

"We are all Americans, and we are all people of God in one way another," he said. "We need to center ourselves, and we need to think outside ourselves."

Across town at Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, Reverend Tim Kutzmark is preparing to unveil two Black Lives Matter banners that will be posted outside his church along Alluvial Avenue.

He says it was going to happen in two weeks, but because of the recent deadly events, his congregation wanted to challenge injustice now.

"This is an opportunity for us, a church and for Fresno, to stand up and say that 'black lives matter, lives of people of color matter,'" he said.

And the president of the church's board of trustees tells Action News it was a unanimous decision between the 12 members.

"We felt that this was a good time stand against hate and recognize the value of all," he said.

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