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Special August 12 Anniversary Issue
August 2, 2022
Photo credit: Elizabeth Shillue
Charlottesville Rallies Against Hate

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. 

We invite you to:

  • Attend the events to commemorate OUR response to the hate (see below).
  • Get involved in local anti-racist efforts.
  • Donate to Aug 11 & 12th survivors through Congregate Cville HERE.
Let us gather on August 12th to
"Unite the Light"
of our beloved community.
Walking Vigil of Remembrance
Friday, August 12 | 4:30 pm | Location TBA (RSVP below)
"Unite the Light" Interfaith Service

Friday, August 12 | 7:30 pm | Location TBA (RSVP below)

Please gather with us next Friday as we -- 

  • Recognize all the creative ways our community pulled together to defend our town, prevent harm, and take a stand against hatred five years ago
  • Acknowledge the trauma of what took place here and which continues to reverberate today
  • Recommit ourselves to shining the light of truth on our shared history while working together to fulfill MLK's vision of a beloved community.
Please RSVP HERE (optional) to receive more information about attending these events in person. Note: both events will be LIVE STREAMED.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo credit: Ézé Amos
Photo Exhibit - "The Story of Us: Reclaiming the Narrative of #Charlottesville through Portraits of Community Resilience"

Photojournalist Ézé Amos will display his photo narrative project giving voice to the experiences of Charlottesville residents surrounding August 12, 2017. Photographs of our community coming together in resistance – holding space, being brave, being vulnerable, showing love for each other – will be suspended among the trees of the downtown mall. Each photo will have a QR code to link viewers via smartphones and the internet to a 3-minute recording of the person in the picture describing their experience during the violent rally. The photos will be installed on Aug. 9 and 10. For information and to support Ézé's GoFundMe project, click HERE.

Town Hall Discussion: "The Story of Us"
Wednesday, August 10 |6:30 pm | Charlottesville Downtown Library's Swanson Case Room
Ézé Amos will facilitate a town hall-style presentation in which he will explain the genesis and intentionality behind his "The Story of Us" exhibit and offer attendees a chance to share their emotions and memories of their experiences of that weekend.

Photo credit: Ézé Amos
Guided Walking Tour
Saturday, August 13|11:00 am | Downtown Mall Water Fountain
Ézé Amos will lead a (roughly one-hour-long) guided walking tour of his 18-photo installations, mounted on trees spanning the length of Charlottesville's Downtown Pedestrian Mall (just a few blocks long). The tour will meet at the Downtown Mall water fountain at the intersection with 2nd Street NE.

The Charlottesville Democratic Party organized the events in appreciation of the courageous activists and citizens.
Un-programmed Meeting for Worship
Friday, August 12 | 10:00 - 11:00 am | Charlottesville Friends Meeting House, 1104 Forest Street
Charlottesville Friends Meeting House will hold an Un-programmed Meeting for Worship From 10 until 11 am on Friday, August 12th, in our Meeting House. Un-programmed worship in the Quaker tradition is spirit-led silent worship, and participants who feel called by the Spirit to speak are welcomed to do so. We found it powerful to hold such a meeting in Justice Park at 10 am on August 12th, 2017,  in preparation for the rally that day. Then as now, we are holding the love and healing of our community in our worship time together. 
This worship service is open to anyone who would like to join us. Our Meeting House is located at 1104 Forest Street in Charlottesville. Wearing a mask is requested.
Congregate Charlottesville
Local and national religious leaders and activists, including Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, far left, and Cornel West, fourth from left, marched together on Aug. 12, 2017. (Photo by Jordy Yager)
Congregate Charlottesville, established in 2017, is a 501(c)3 organization. Grounded in their various faith traditions, members use their voices, resources, and bodies to dismantle the systems that continuously dehumanize our siblings. In the past five years, Congregate Charlottesville has pursued its mission in numerous ways: protesting against white supremacy in the streets; court support for A11/12 survivors; spearheading fundraisers for A11/12 survivors; raising and distributing funds for vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic; fiscal sponsorship of BIPOC-led groups in the Cville community. Congregate Charlottesville does all this work in collaboration with other activists and community groups.

Check out their website HERE and Facebook HERE


SURJ Webinar: Beyond Zero Sum
Thursday, August 4 | 8:00 pm  | Virtual Event 

Join SURJ's National Director, Erin Heaney, in conversation with Heather McGhee, political strategist and author of "The Sum of Us," to explore the history of strategic racism and how white people can organize their communities away from a "zero sum" mentality and towards an understanding of their shared interest in fights for justice. Register HERE.

"The narrative that white people should see the well-being of people of color as a threat to their own is one of the most powerful subterranean stories in America. Until we destroy the idea, opponents of progress can always unearth it and use it to block a collective action that benefits us all." - Heather McGhee, The Sum of Us.

At SURJ, we believe that racism is employed by the wealthy elite to make white people believe they have more in common with a white billionaire than the people of color in their neighborhoods. The truth is, white people have so much to gain a shared interest- in fighting for racial and economic justice. 

Swords Into Plowshares Community Survey

In December, the Charlottesville City Council voted to give the city’s recently-removed statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC). [Read the news release.] The JSAAHC plans to melt down the monument to transform its bronze material into a work of public art. The public art project, called “Swords Into Plowshares,” will be informed by a community engagement process. Charlottesville area residents are invited to take this anonymous SURVEY.

If you belong to a group that would be interested in discussing this project further, send a message to with your group’s name and contact information.
2nd Annual Soul of Cville: A Celebration of Black Excellence in Central Virginia
August 12-14 | IX Park, 522 Second St. SE. 
Festival programming will include live music and performances, a fashion show, a Black artisan market featuring local vendors, food from local Black-owned restaurants, and a pop-up skate event with De La Roll. There will also be a free screening of the 1989 film Do the Right Thing in conjunction with the IX Flix free summer film series at sundown on Friday, August 12. FREE admission. More information HERE.
Charlottesville Clergy Collective Announcements. Subscribe.
Charlottesville Community Cares Newsletter. Local Covid-19 challenges and solutions. Subscribe.

Charlottesville Tomorrow. Public service journalism, local and timely. Subscribe.

City of Promise Newsletter. Working with children to achieve their fullest potential. Subscribe.

Legal Aid and Justice Center Newsletter. Subscribe.

ReimagineCVA. A directory to ways to connect with the social structure in Charlottesville and surrounding counties. Subscribe.

The Activists' Guide. A community-based online resource for activists. Website.

UCARE Newsletter. UVA and racial equity. Subscribe.

Vinegar Hill Magazine. A Black perspective on business, culture, politics in central Virginia. Read and Subscribe.

Virginia Organizing challenges injustice by bringing people together to work for change in their communities. We have a new Charlottesville organizer! Sign up for newsletter and action alerts.
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