We were just three weeks out from closing this issue when the Unite the Right movement—comprising Nazis, white nationalists, and Klansmen, among others—descended on Charlottesville and provoked a weekend of bedlam and terror that left scores injured and three dead. The community here was devastated at first, then rallied behind the loss of its own. But the fact that Unite the Right had chosen Charlottesville to begin with has triggered a painful conversation about the ugly racial dynamics that underlie what’s often referred to as “one of the happiest cities in America.” Many here feel it’s long overdue.
This coming to terms with racial truths—for both the city of Charlottesville and its most powerful institution, the University of Virginia—will be a slow and messy reckoning. It has already been a raw experience, both volatile and illuminating. Actions since that weekend speak to the profound need for redress, which isn’t just political but a fundamentally human need.
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