Charlottesville is our home. It is where we live, go to school, work, play, help our neighbors, pray, volunteer and raise our kids. We were invaded this weekend. By violent, extremist hate groups that don’t reflect our collective values or the way we view the world. Three lives were lost. Many more were injured.
We are sad, we are angry, we are exhausted and heartbroken, but most of all we are resolute. What happened this weekend can’t and won’t define us.
What we do in the nonprofit sector is already hard. But this weekend has placed a responsibility on our shoulders. Let us be clear: this not a new responsibility, but one that demands urgent attention. We have to double down in our fight against white supremacy and racism. Late Saturday, at the Governor’s Press Conference, our City Manager Maurice Jones urged each of us to seek opportunities to reach out to people who share our home but are outside our circles in order to work to build meaningful relationships and foster strong connections. And that’s what nonprofits do. We build community.
What does building community look like? It involves marching – but it also involves a lot of talking, a lot of listening, a lot of intention, and a lot of advocacy. Many of our nonprofits have done and will continue to do good, sustained, active and engaged work to help us grapple with racism and and to strive for equity and equality. We look to local faith-based leaders like the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, and CNE members like the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and Legal Aid Justice Center who have lead the way this summer. And to the web of nonprofits across our region that knits our community together, every day. Thank you.
What can we do at CNE? We know there are community leaders out ahead of us. How can we support you and spread the word? We offer our partnership to all who are engaged in this work. Meanwhile, let us continue to speak out against violence and injustice whenever and wherever we see it, and let this weekend steel our resolve to create, together, a community of opportunity for all who live here. It’s up to us.
Cristine Nardi, Executive Director