What happened this weekend in Charlottesville is incomprehensible, but it is real. I am still in shock from everything that happened, but this blog post is one way I am trying to process and share what our city experienced over the last 72 hours.

When we first found out we were moving here, some of my friends had never even heard of it. Now the whole world knows about this town and for horrible reasons. We have lived here for 2.5 months, and in that short time, I can tell you I see acts of love and racial reconciliation every day. However, there is a deep divide throughout the country right now and a particularly deep-seated history here. As we work to confront this issue as a city, Charlottesville has become the battleground from which to wage this war.

The acts of love I’ve witnessed aren’t nearly as newsworthy or blatant as acts of hate and white supremacy. The wrong side clearly had a presence here over the weekend, but there is a persisting presence of reconciliation. There is SO MUCH work to be done and our country has SO FAR to go, but please stand on the frontlines with us as we figure out what that looks like moving forward. This can NOT happen again. This can NOT be our future.

It has been a sobering and devastating time. We live .5 mile from downtown and the site where a car plowed through pedestrians, and even less than that from where they later found the car. Helicopters hovered over our apartment from morning until night all weekend. To say this hit close to home is an understatement. Nathan worked Saturday and was on standby through Sunday evening. The whole hospital followed an emergency protocol to deal with the large number of casualties.

This morning (Monday), for the first time since Friday, I left the apartment on my own. I took my usual walking route and captured the below images around town. Needless to say, my normal route will never be the same. It goes through the main areas of conflict, as you’ll see below. These are unedited images and all from today, August 14. It is my hope that these photos capture the aftermath but also the love that fights just as hard in this town every day.

Photo Aug 14, 6 17 43 AM
At the beginning of the walk, the sun beginning to rise over Cville.

Photo Aug 14, 6 21 45 AM

Photo Aug 14, 6 27 11 AM
4th St. and Water, a memorial where Heather Heyer was killed and more than a dozen others were injured.
Photo Aug 14, 6 27 20 AM
News vans line Water St. near the site where a car plowed through pedestrians on Saturday.
Photo Aug 14, 6 29 49 AM
Many local stores closed due to safety concerns on Saturday. They are reopened now, bearing signs and messages of love.
Photo Aug 14, 6 43 40 AM
The UVA bridge was painted with “We love, we resist, we persist.”
Photo Aug 14, 6 44 13 AM
The army is still in town Monday morning, out on a training run above.
Photo Aug 14, 6 48 55 AM
In the midst of it all, two deer find their way down the street and back to the surrounding mountains.
Photo Aug 14, 7 04 16 AM
Emancipation Park and the Robert E. Lee statue, above. Paint splatters from the rally still remain all over the surrounding sidewalks.
Photo Aug 14, 7 06 23 AM
More news vans line Market St., just north of the downtown mall.
Photo Aug 14, 7 04 44 AM
This banner was hung late last week in anticipation of the rally and still remains today.
Photo Aug 14, 6 58 30 AM
The sun rose higher and higher throughout my walk.
Photo Aug 14, 7 10 40 AM
One of the best sunrises I’ve witnessed. This weekend was a reminder to slow down and appreciate it.

The sun still rises in Cville, and there is work to be done.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out – calls, texts, emails, etc. – to me and Nathan over the past few days. Please continue to keep the whole city in your thoughts and prayers. ❤

5 thoughts on “This Weekend in Charlottesville

  1. These are sad times with much hard work ahead of all of us. I know and trust that the two of you and your families will, along with many many others, search their hearts and minds for the solution. Live in the present, love each other, and trust your hearts in making choices. These problems came from man, and man will solve them with each other’s help and guidance from our common father.

  2. Rachel, thank you for sharing this blog and these pictures. The sunrise with beams of sunshine remind me of the hope and resilience of human spirit. I will continue to pray for you and Nathan, for peace in our country, and for healing in our world that is experiencing so much turmoil… miss you two! Stay safe.

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