City Leaders Form Economic Recovery Team Following Unite the Right Rally
Business and city leaders in Charlottesville are beginning the work to change the city's image in the wake of violence from the Unite the Right rally.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Business and city leaders in Charlottesville are beginning the work to change the city's image in the wake of violence from the Unite the Right rally.
They are expecting to kick off a campaign to help businesses in the area recover.
The newly formed Economic Recovery Team met at the Old Metropolitan Hall on the Downtown Mall on August 29. They discussed ways to help businesses throughout the city recover from losses of customers and tourists canceling trips in response to the Unite the Right rally and violence.
The team's aim is to help businesses recover and bring tourists back to the city in the wake of the "Unite the Right" rally and violence that happened in the downtown area.
“We are very much wanting to take the messaging and the dialogue back on our city and not have it be an image of hate and divisiveness,” said Susan Payne, Charlottesville Recovery Team.
The team's manager says restaurant workers who depend on tips are suffering from fewer customers and some small business owners are taking out loans to pay their employees.
The group includes about 20 business leaders and city officials.
Mayor Mike Signer and Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy delivered a message of unity from city government despite the recent back and forth between the mayor and city manager.
This group is launching the Charlottesville Stand for Love Campaign to show the world a different image of the city than what they've seen from August 12.
It will involve a marketing campaign from state tourism officials and a social media hashtag which will be #standforlove. The state is also helping with plans to create a video about Charlottesville.
The "stand for love" campaign is created to spur immediate recovery. Members of the team admit that it also means facing some tough love over the long term.
“Love is passionate. Love is sometimes not what we want, what we like. It's hard. It's work. And I think right now we're in that place where we recognize we need to improve upon,” said Yolunda Harrell, worked in hospitality industry.
This meeting also involved some tough talk from African American business leaders who want to make sure the message is inclusive and authentic.
This economic recovery team is also promising that this campaign will show love to all communities and work to create equity across the city.