Jefferson School Hosts First 'Dialogue on Race' of New Year
The Charlottesville community is focusing on learning more about the city's history through its "Dialogue on Race" series.
The Charlottesville community is focusing on learning more about the city's history. This, after the summer's rallies brought issues of race to the forefront.
“I think there have been things under the surface for years,” Toni Barskile, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
This is the first "Dialogue on Race" series conversation of the New Year. In December, it figured out what topics people wanted to focus on like the economy, education, government, social/cultural issues and recovery after those rallies.
In the first “Dialogue on Race,” of the New Year, people say Charlottesville's struggle with race didn't just begin after the Unite the Right rally.
Barskile says being from the North, at first she didn't understand why people were so upset with the Robert E. Lee statue until she saw its impact.
"How much meaning and how much people had that statue or that way of life invested in who they are,” Barskile said.
Who "they" are is one topic the dialogue on race series at the Jefferson School is talking about.
Back in December people got to vote on their personal priorities within five different categories, everything from education, to recovery and preparation stemming from the events of the summer.
"I think folks are thirsty for Charlottesville's story," Charlene Green of the Office of Human Rights said.
On Monday, the topic that got the most votes was supporting learning more about Charlottesville's history.
"I realized that the old south is still here and it really kind of shocked me I guess," Bruce Dembling, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
Green says besides that history, she’s also been working with other communities who haven't attended the dialogues in neighborhoods like Westhaven and Tonsler Park to get their input.
“That's when I get more responses like there should be more rapid re-housing available because I know a lot of people who are homeless,” Green said.
She says getting everyone's input is how we can start trying to move forward.
“Understanding that history is like having that first chapter,” Green said.
From here the work groups are picking what things in each category they want to continue to work on.
If you want to join one of the groups you can contact Greene at the Office of Human Rights for meeting info.