In early August, my town was still a place many didn’t know. They had heard of it, maybe, or they had fading memories of visiting Monticello as a child. Some had friends or family who’d attended U.V.A. But usually, when the subject of where I live came up, people would say, “Charlottesville? I’ve never been there. Where exactly is it?” Or, “I’ve heard Charlottesville is beautiful.”
On August 12th all that changed. The ugly, angry mess that unfolded in my town left three people dead and meant that Charlottesville became a hashtag trending on Twitter. Charlottesville seemed like the most frequently spoken word on every media outlet.
Charlottesville. We aren’t the headline most days now, though we’re usually buried in the story. We are the same but different. We are scarred but standing. We are raw and we wrestle with the reality of what remains, what to do next, how to move forward.
My town is Charlottesville. It’s a town full of thought leaders and problem solvers. Moms and dads and singles and sisters and brothers, loners and leaders, artists and performers, brick layers and bread bakers and bold thinkers. It’s small in scale and big in vision. It’s a town surrounded by rolling pastures and beautiful mountains. We are more than August 12th. Charlottesville.
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