Charlottesville Groups, Community Members Hold Meeting in Light of Saturday's Violence
The Charlottesville community is picking up the pieces after a weekend of violence took one life and injured over a dozen people surrounding the planned Unite the Right rally.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville community is picking up the pieces after a weekend of violence took one life and injured over a dozen people surrounding the planned Unite the Right rally.
The Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center hosted a public meeting to address racism and discuss Charlottesville goes from here. The room was overflowing with people and ideas, but the resounding message is to make sure nothing like this weekend ever happens again.
"To give people a place to decompress..to have an opportunity to create your impressions, but also to say now what? Because that's the real question right? Now what?" attendee Andrea Douglas said.
People split up in groups to share their ideas, some writing on paper, others sharing their thoughts out loud. Some say the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson need to be taken down completely.
"They are invitations to this kind of protest, this kind of violence, that they become a flash point for hate groups," Christine Gresser who lives in Albemarle County said.
"I wrote not to water down the events that happened this weekend, because once we start forgetting what happened or trying to call it something that it isn't we forget how much this matters in our community," attendee Andy Gneiting said.
Other ideas mentioned creating laws.
"We talked about is there a way to make a legislative push to make it illegal to show up in that full militia gear. It was hard for a lot of residents whether these people were police, were they National Guard? Or were they protesters and it was unclear," Gresser said.
People attending say the rally cannot be ignored. Adrianne Oliver says she thinks it's important to talk about race with her daughter.
"This taboo fear that we instill in children that its not okay to talk about our differences, that its not okay to celebrate those differences, that is violence," Oliver said.
Her No. 1 message: That Charlottesville stands stronger together. When asked what she would say to the community, Oliver said, "I love you ... well that's a good start."
All ideas that were shared at Monday's meeting will be shared amongst those who attended as well as with City Council and state officials who are interested to hear the ideas. Organizers also say that there will be a follow up meeting.
They are still figuring out the date.