Beliefs set aside, community comes together for August 12 interfaith service

The anniversary of August 2017 in Charlottesville has been all about reflection, honoring and coming together.
Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 1:16 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The anniversary of August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville has been all about reflection and coming together.

“Bringing the community together as one, just as we were that day, that weekend, and that entire summer really; just to give people an opportunity, once again, to reach out and touch, and love each other,” Community Activist Don Gathers said.

Gathers helped stand up to white supremacy in 2017 and he still works as an activist in the city 5 years later.

He is a deacon, and he spoke at Friday’s interfaith service, held by Mount Zion First African Baptist Church.

“Unless we remain vigilant, it very easily could happen to us again, and we don’t want that to come here. We don’t want it to happen in any other community. We have to stay like minded and unified in order to prevent that,” Gathers said.

While prayers were said, heads were bowed, and hymns were sung, there wasn’t a singular religion behind the service. It was not a day to be divided in beliefs.

“It’s more about spiritualities, as opposed to any particular denominations. The community of faith here in Charlottesville is broad and expansive. But we all we all believe that, you know, we need to unify,” Gathers said.

Community members say it’s about giving thanks. Thanks that we are here, and strong.

“Everything and nothing has changed. It was it was forever ago, and it was just a moment ago.,” Gathers said. “We don’t want it to happen in any other community. So we have to stay like minded and unified in order to prevent that.”

When we join hands, religions, organizations, neighborhoods, we show that Charlottesville is not defined by a single event.

Charlottesville is more than that summer of hate. It’s a community. It was five years ago, and it is now, and it always will be.

Copyright 2022 WVIR. All rights reserved.

Do you have a story idea? Send us your news tip here.