CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) – It was just two years ago when white nationalists stormed Market Street Park in Charlottesville, Virginia. They left a trail of tears, violence, and hatred. It’s now 2019 and the city is still trying to heal.
“This year I think we’re still recovering. We’ll always still recover as a city if we are truly paying attention to everyone here and not just certain communities and so I think this year I think it’s the start of trying to do things differently,” says Manager of the Office of Human Rights for the city of Charlottesville, Charlene Green.
The attacks by white supremacists not only hurt the city but according to president of “C’Ville Pride,” Amy-Sarah Marshall they awakened something dark within the town.
“The damage that was done as many people say revealed old wounds.”
During the past few months the city of Charlottesville has been hosting Unity Days that help educate, inspire, and honor people in the community to move towards economic and racial justice. For Charlene Green today was about a call to action.
“It’s a slow process you think about how much time it took to get to this spot. This is the 400th anniversary of the first slave ships that came to the colony of Virginia and so I hope it doesn’t take us as long to gain social equity and justice. But it is definitely something that is an ongoing process.”
For the city of Charlottesville, trusting the process is yielding results.
“It feels better this year and having all these unity days has given people something to put positive energy towards and I’ve spoken with some people who do feel like there is some movement,” states Marshall.
In the end, it’s all about leaning into discomfort, making a positive change, and not repeating the past.
“We’re always trying to keep it real. It’s not about being warm and fuzzy and singing we are the world it’s about keeping it real and recognizing that everybody does not have social equity yet in our community,” explains Green.
Tomorrow on the anniversary of the Charlottesville attacks, the city will host it’s last day of Unity Days. Beginning at 2 p.m. there will be healing and wellness services. Followed by a community concert from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.