“We lost our naivete”: A year later, Charlottesville is still a wounded city

But if the external appearance is unchanged, those who live here know how the injured city is and how stressed the recovery has been. On August 12, the city will mark a year since the racial hatred brought its prisoners here and threatens a society and a country. There will be prayer and music and homage to the injured and they will die. It is billed as a day to remember and to heal after a disturbing and often painful year.

Charlottesville, Virginia, has spent the better part of the past 12 months to remember and recover. It has also taken stock and placed the debt. There has been plenty of walking around. Blame for law enforcement that does not protect its citizens. Rinse for the city council and local and state government as planned inefficiently. Blame for the university that did not communicate the danger to society. Rinse for President Donald Trump not to express himself exclusively to condemn the marchers who had spit their racist views.

The real damage has been to the city’s psyche and the feeling of itself, residents say. The Inner Charlottesville is now known as the venue for America’s largest white meeting of congregation for decades. And they know that their society is defined to a certain extent by the racial council expelled on August 1

2 during the Unite the Right rally and the night before, when 200 self-appointed white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus chanting “Our Blood, Our Earth!” And “Jews will not replace us!”

To agree with it has meant different things for different people. Some residents want to express it earlier and focus on revoking the city’s reputation. Others want residents to participate in difficult conversations about race and city history with slavery, Jim Crow and segregation.

“Many people here were uncomfortable with what happened on August 12 and said,” Let’s just reconcile and move forward, “says Zyahna Bryant, a student activist who goes into his college year at Charlottesville High School.” But it has not been the job to go back and expect white superiority. Before we can move on and heal as a society, we must count on it. “

For Bryant and others, it means dealing with gentrification and paucity of affordable housing in the city, ending stop-and-shoot police work, improved education opportunities and, more importantly, Bryant said “reinforce the voices and experiences of people of color disproportionately affected by racial councils.”

It also means recognizing that institutional racism exists as a strong force here. The more unspoken critics say that while modern Charlottesville prides itself on being a progressive and liberal city, it has never renounced its current with its racist past. They say that the city and university have not agreed with their history to be built, enriched and maintained by blinded people and remains for a large part of the 20th century, a segregated city celebrating the unions’ residences instead of throwing them aside.

The violence in August in August split the perceptions that any of them had from their homes. It was a wish to watch the white supremacists as intruders and third parties, although two of the organizers, Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer, were U-Va. academics and Kessler live in the city. The city must carefully examine what it represented.

“We lost our naivety,” said Kathy Galvin, 62, a city council who has lived in Charlottesville since 1983. “It’s easy to take comfort in all the awards we had until that time.” Most innovative city, the happiest city. “But many of us knew that we had anchored pockets of poverty that were also adapted by race and were laid by Jim Crow.”

Although the process has been difficult, it has also been enlightening, said Galvin . [19659002] “We can not imagine we’ve turned a corner or we’re out of bed,” she said. “So it gave rise to introspection and self-seeking.”

It also gave rise to anger and protests. Fallout from August 12 is everywhere. The city’s police station departed. The city manager’s contract was not extended. Scathing reports criticized the response from the city and university. In November, a leading city council critic, Nikuyah Walker, was elected to the body and was elected by other members as the city’s first black female mayor.

The excitement ebbs and flows, but it does not let go.

City council sessions have been repeatedly annoyed by those who believe their concerns are not addressed. Residents report warnings that the white supremacists are planning a return. Kessler tried to get a permit for an anniversary rally. He withdraw that request and hopes to hold one in Washington, D.C., that day. There was widespread relief in Charlottesville that he abandoned a plan for a rally here, but a return of uncertainty and fear.

“I do not go outside that day,” said Nydia Lee, 25, who lives in a general housing development just south of the city center and watched last year when white supremacists passed by nearby. “We got a preview of what our ancestors went through, and that was scary. It was overwhelming.”

Sophie Schectman was in a celebrating mood. She and a large group of like-minded protesters had stood up to hundreds of white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers who had fallen into their hometown and had to rally to quit before it began.

Charlottesville that hot summer morning had been a hell. Marches filled the air in the typically quiet college town with racist and homophobic chants and jeers. The protests shouted back. There were chemicals spraying and smashing battles in the streets. Fists and bricks and bottles flew. Stadspolis and Virginia State Troopers decided not to intervene. The country and the world witnessed the uncontrolled breed and violence plays on TV and Twitter.

After a little while, quietly returned.

“It felt like we had won that day,” said Schectman, 22, who grew up here and graduated from U-Va. “We had shown to clarify that their racist and white supremacist ideology was not welcome in Charlottesville of Charlottesville.”

Schectman felt happy when she got up on Fourth Street, just outside the city center for pedestrians. She turned to give a friend a hug. She never heard the car move down the street, led directly to the audience.

For a moment, Schectman, a trace cellar, was hit. When she arrived, she lay on the sidewalk. Blood blew from the forehead and she felt a sore pain in her legs. She suffered from a brain injury, two broken bones, bruises and blood loss. It would take two operations and months of rehabilitation before she could go again.

James Alex Fields Jr., a resident of Ohio with Nazi slopes, is accused of deliberately driving the car in the mass of no evil demonstrators who injured Schectman and dozens of others. One, Heather Heyer, 32, was killed. The already violent day had become fatal, and for a few hours Charlottesville had become synonymous with racism.

Fields awaits first-rate costs and has been charged with federal hatred for which he could face the death penalty.

In a city center, a block from where she drove over, Schectman loses some emotions but says she is angry with her city and her university failed with society. She is also angry that there have been no excuses or responsibility for these failures. And even though her injuries were difficult and life-changing, she did not focus on herself.

“It has become clearer to all that we must fight oppression in all its forms,” ​​she said. “And we have to fight with the superiority that appears in everyday life here in Charlottesville.”

Charlottesville can not rewrite its history last year more than it can in the past 250 years. But people who live here say they have learned lessons, had opened their eyes to truths that they previously did not have to face.

Caroline Polk and her husband, Forrest Swope, are long Charlottesville residents who went to witness the white supremacist march in their city. They were prepared for demonstrations, but not for the poison.

“We are white. This does not affect us every day,” Polk said. “If I’m being exaggerated by a police, I do not worry about being shot. I just hope what happened last year motivated people to be better allied and shout racism when they see it.”

Wes Bellamy said he hopes The discussions and awareness suffered by last year’s violence will be transformative for the city. Bellamy, 31, is a city council member who helped drive the city to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a downtown park. The decision to ban the statue resulted in death and hatred, and in part, it led to the white supremacists deciding Charlottesville as a place for their rally.

For now, the statue remains in a legal limbo. But this is not time to back down, Bellamy said when he sat at a table outside Mel’s Cafe in Charlottesville.

“If we shoot around the problems, we will not come anywhere. Let’s put it on the table That’s what I think we’ve done in this society,” he said. “Just because it makes you awkward means that not that we can not talk about it. “

On August 12 this year, Bellamy said he wants people to be out to celebrate that we are one year stronger.”

“We took a blow to the face, but we did not fight out, “he said. “We will win this match, but we must be resilient.”

This article was written by Joe Heim, a reporter for The Washington Post.


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One comment

  1. Until he is ready to accept help and admit this is his problem he will never get any better.

    My mother was an alcoholic and for years I had to put up with her drunken vitriolic phonecalls and the fear she would die young. In 2002 I decided to stop rescuing her (this took me quite some time to do) and realized there was nothing I could do except look after me and my children. My mother then began to see her own issues and tried very hard to cut down on her drinking. Christmas 2002 was hard for her as it was 3 years since my dad died. Sadly she turned back to drinking heavily. She died on her own after suffering ruptured gastric erosions. Her neighbour found her the next day. No one deserves to die in this way but if you have hit self destruct then nothing is going to stop this happening.

    Those who care for Gazza need to stop rescuing him and look after themselves.

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