Interactive Art Helps People Heal on the Downtown Mall During Unity Days
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - It's been two years since white supremacists and white nationalists brought hatred and division to Charlottesville's streets. Now, to heal and move forward, the community is helping people who have had fear creep into their lives because of different types of violence, as part of Unity Days.
In August of 2017, people took to the streets with chants. One woman walked down a street in downtown Charlottesville pleading for peace, "We got kids that go to school together, all different colors, they're not born to hate." Now, two years later, people are coming together in a different way.
Just a few hundred yards from where white nationalist -- James Fields Junior -- rammed a car into a crowd and killed Heather Heyer, people shared where they feel safe. Some made sure to tell others that Charlottesville is still moving forward, and that they will, as well.
Solomon's Knot, an interpretive dance and exercise, took place on the downtown mall this Saturday. Members of the Charlottesville Ballet Academy helped people express where they feel safe through movement.
“We're tying each other into knots, precisely because we want to think about how were united as one in this fabric of a community in Charlottesville, and how were stronger when we work together.” said Eric Ramirez-Weaver, the co-founder of Solomon’s Knot.
“It’s just paint and a marker and a wooden star, but it’s the chance to send love and hope out into the world” Shoshana Dweck, the board chair of the New York Says Thank You foundation said.
Emily Thomas, who was born and raised in Charlottesville, took time to paint one of the wooden stars provided.
“Moving past and growing from an experience to me is really the only way you can feel like you have control.” said Thomas.
Ramirez-Weaver said Solomon’s Knot wanted to make sure if any difficult feelings came up, someone was there to talk to, so a therapist was on hand after the interpretive dance exercise.
“Unity Days is for recalling, sure what happened in 2017, but its thinking about what we want to happen in 2020 and 2021 and beyond; and I think the call to action is really about remembering that we're better because of all our neighbors.” said Ramirez-Weaver.