A Year Later, Charlottesville Revisited

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This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the terror that tore through the streets of Charlottesville last August. I experienced that weekend and the aftermath as UVA Student Body President. The city and university are still grappling with trauma, pain, and anger as centuries-long conflicts have surfaced and dominated public discourse. Charlottesville has shown us that the processes of community reconciliation and understanding take time, patience, sacrifice, and shared commitment to a united and just society. With divisions deep and common understanding lacking, it's not been easy. 

Listen First Project became part of Charlottesville's journey with our Listen First in Charlottesville event in April. See the videos of powerful conversations and perspectives from local and national leaders who joined us. Our work in Charlottesville is featured in the New York Times and Christian Science Monitor. Pearce shared his thoughts in a recent television interview. One of the Listen First champions who spoke in Charlottesville was former white supremacist Christian Picciolini. See his special "Breaking Hate" on MSNBC Sunday at 9PM ET.

Now that I've graduated from UVA, I'll spend the anniversary standing against dehumanizing hate in Washington, DC, where the same dark forces are set to convene again and face counter-protesters. As we all remember the tragedy that further divided a community and nation, let's reflect on the ways that we can promote equity, openness, understanding, and peace in our own relationships and communities.

Sarah Kenny
Listen First Project Vice President
UVA Student Body President '17-'18