I have an article due last week – a feel good story on a piece of Charlottesville history – that I can’t quite seem to focus on. After having such violent images of my town broadcast all over the globe, seeing armed nazis in my neighborhood, having my neighbors feel threatened in the safety of their own home, I’m having a hard time focusing on anything but my anger and frustration with our elected officials who allowed this to happen. The warnings of how ugly this was going to be had been there for months and somehow, our civic leaders failed to protect us. It would appear there is no safety net anymore.
We are still not back to ‘normal’ although we are trying to get there. Our city has become a hashtag and a flashpoint. I hope this causes real change – not just here, but in the world. We are desperately in need of it.
We woke up Sunday morning raw. I thought that was the worst of it. I was wrong. Every day this week, I try to sit down and write only to be distracted by the latest horror. As I type this on Wednesday afternoon, there are still reports of bands of rogue nazis wandering our city terrorizing us.
I had a few friends tell me I should write down my experiences of this past weekend. I did and it was cathartic, but I’m not publishing them here. We mostly avoided the fray – I did see nazis congregating in a neighborhood park when I walked the dog Saturday morning, but we picked up our girl at camp Saturday afternoon, so we were out of town and pleasantly distracted from the horrors playing out so close to our home most of the day. I’ve heard tales of friends and neighbors, I’ve seen their eye witness photos on my social media feeds and for those of you reading this outside of our town, a good bit of what happened here over the weekend has not been covered by the media.
As awful as this has been – and it’s worse than you can possibly imagine – the heart of Charlottesville is still strong. We are all trying take care of each other in every way possible. I came home to home-baked cookies left on my front porch yesterday as a thank you from a neighbor for getting her a sign like mine – the one pictured at the top of this post. And really, that’s what we all need to do – is practice random acts of kindness. Be good to each other. It’s not hard and it comes back in spades.
I know that changing the world is going to require more than just kindness. But it’s a good place to start.