Five years ago, racist, antisemitic, white nationalist, and white supremacist groups invaded Charlottesville to “Unite the Right” on August 11 and 12, 2017. In one of the largest, most violent gatherings in the United States, extremists marched on Charlottesville’s Downtown, armed in full battle gear, wielding torches and weapons, spewing hatred, and attacking community members. That account has become synonymous with our city and of those days. But the fuller, more accurate portrayal is of Charlottesville, the community that led resistance to white supremacists.
What the news outlets did not do justice to was all of the creative ways community members pulled together to defend their town, prevent harm, and take a stand against hatred. Weeks of planning, discussions of shared values, strategy sessions, and the decisions of many to put faith into action made a difference on that day. These partnerships and the work continues.
As we reflect on the racial hatred and violence that invaded our streets five years ago, which ripped the bandaid off of the racial wounds of our past, we recommit to our exploration of truth and our commitment to becoming a beloved community - a community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate. As was the case for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., we are fueled by a faith that such a community is, in fact, possible.
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