U.Va. Alumni: U.Va. students — we are with you

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University students, please know that we as alumni have stood where you stand now — at the door of a great institution seeking wisdom and knowledge.

Lauren Hornsby | Cavalier Daily

Dear Editorial Board of the Cavalier Daily,

We are alumni of the University of Virginia, and on Aug. 11-12 we watched with horror as neo-Nazi white supremacists descended on Grounds and then into downtown Charlottesville. We stand with you, University students, as you begin the school term. We urge the University to take all measures to ensure your safety and well-being. We also join everyone in the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of Heather Heyer and two state troopers, Pilot Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, and in praying for all those injured in last weekend’s senseless attack.

This white nationalist onslaught on Grounds and tragedy in downtown Charlottesville emanated from a rally against the City of Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a public park. According to a 2016 Report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 1,503 Confederate symbols in public spaces, including flag displays, holidays and other observances, schools, highways, parks, bridges, counties, cities, lakes, dams, roads, military bases and other public works. The Report states that these celebrations of the Confederacy include some 718 monuments, 109 schools, 10 military bases, 80 counties and cities and nine holidays. This must end, we are a democracy.

Supporters of Confederate symbols on public property claim that such displays represent this nation’s heritage and history. Their claim, belied by the fact of slavery, dismisses this nation’s African American heritage. Tens of millions of our forebears were stolen from their homelands and condemned to lifelong and generational forced-labor, rape and dishonor. Confederate symbols do not represent this nation’s heritage and history; they instead represent the immoral and inhumane treatment of generations of African Americans, a history we must transcend if we are to be one nation.

The whole world looked on in horror as a parade of neo-Nazi white supremacists, holding torches and chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans, encircled what appeared to be a dozen peaceful University students on Grounds the night of Aug. 11. The white supremacists’ parade past the Rotunda and down the Lawn caused more alarm, as did the next day’s fatal violence against counter-protesters, many of whom were peace-loving Charlottesville residents. The ideals and symbols of white supremacy are vestiges of our country’s history of slavery, and thus incompatible with democracy. Democracy requires equal respect among her citizens.

University students, please know that we as alumni have stood where you stand now — at the door of a great institution seeking wisdom and knowledge. We are in full support of your right to pursue a broader understanding of our world without fear for your safety and security, and that of your Charlottesville neighbors. With that in mind, we implore the University to do everything possible to keep each and every one of you safe and secure from harm in the weeks ahead.

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, Monticello, Aug. 1, 1816

Sincerely,

Edward T. Rhodes, Jr., CLAS 1985

Prof. Anthony Paul Farley, CLAS 1984

Sandra M. Smith, M.D., CLAS 1983

Lisa Wilson Edwards, CLAS 1984, LAW 1988

Mikki Cottet, CLAS 1985, LAW 1988

Imani Ellis-Cheek Sy, LAW 1988

Prof. Julian A. Cooke III, LAW 1988

Pamela L. Shavers, COM 1984

Winkfield F. Twyman Jr., Esq., CLAS 1983

Gregory Dyson, MBA, 1986

Russell B. Logan, SEAS 1984, MBA, 1989

Honorable Eric C. Taylor, LAW 1988

Colonel Tonja Custis Brickhouse, CLAS 1982

Leslie W. Kingslow, MD, FCCP, CLAS 1984

Prof. Kenneth Williams, LAW 1986

Lynn Blasingame Olmert, CLAS 1986

Ivy Wafford Duke, CLAS 1990, LAW 1993

Roberto V. Duke, SARC 1987, GARC 1989

Rev. Ginger James Watson, LAW 1988

Jandie Smith Turner, SEAS 1989, MBA 1993

Sheila J. Mosee, M.D., CLAS 1986

Kevin J. Suber, SEAS 1986

R. Todd Harris, CLAS 1985

Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson, CLAS 87

Sarah Nixon Clarke, CLAS 1985

Rhonda Fox, CLAS 1985

Barbara Wadley-Young, PhD, CLAS 1983

J. Logan Anderson, CLAS 1983, GSAS, 1985

Brian B. Godwin, CLAS 1984

Dallas Grahame Kingsbury, LAW 1989

Carla Barnes Warrick, CLAS 1985

Maria Leonard Olsen, LAW 1988

Gina Terry, SEAS 1988

Renate Yarborough Sanders, CLAS 1986

Louis Anderson, CLAS 1985, EDUC 1988

Chairman, UVa Black Students Alliance, 1983-1985

Joanne Beauvoir Brown, CLAS 1986

Cheryl Lewis Fuller, CLAS 1985

Dr. Stephanie A. Royal, CLAS 1986

Foster Brooks, CLAS 1980, MBA 85

David Killalea, LAW 1985

Bricena Chandler Belle, CLAS 1980

Tracy M. J. Colden, LAW 1988

Lauren Pattani-Wright, CLAS 1991

Daria Torres, SEAS 1996

Terri A. Carter, CLAS 1984

Linda Hildreth, LAW 1988

Endi Piper, CLAS 1993, LAW 1998

Marjorie Boursiquot, SEAS 1996

Tierney T. Fairchild, Ph.D., D 1994, GSAS 1996

Annette K. Ansong, M.D., CLAS 1998

B. Kaye Hayes, MPA, CLAS 1985

Yolanda Beasley, CLAS 2011

Bryon Grant, CLAS '93

Tameka Nachelle Simmons, CLAS '99

Raynelle Deans, SEAS 2003

Geoffrey R. Henton, CLAS 1983, COMM 2004

Vincent Harrison, Sr., CLAS 1988

Denyse Dillon, Esq., CLAS 1986

David Harris, CLAS 1980, LAW 1983

Jamila Wyatt Frone, CLAS 1995

Jasmine Jefferson, CLAS 2011, BATT 2012

Brion Ozim, CLAS 1993

Nancy L. Walsh, LAW 1988

Robert E. Branson, CLAS 1980

Christine McCarey, CLAS 1991

Gaby Wilson, CLAS 2010

Hooshere Bezdikian, CLAS 1997

Sophie Dougadir, CLAS 2011, M.Ed 2017

Bryn K. Johnson, CLAS 1997

Jessica Huff, CLAS 2010

Lisa Sechrest-Ehrharadt, CLAS 1982

Kendra Grinnage, CLAS 2010

Hallie Groff, CLAS 2010, SARC 2010

Cheryl Wilson, CLAS 1992, MBA 1998

Christine V. Davis, CLAS 1993

Erika Pearson, COMM 2000

Mona Brown, CLAS 1987

Montina J. Anderson, CLAS 1991

Tamia Rashima Jordan, CLAS 2000

Jennifer Wade, SEAS 2001

Amanda Reid, SEAS 2011

Megan Hoak Khan, CLAS 1995

ArDonna Hamilton, CLAS 2013

Kindra Hill, CLAS 2014

Maya Wright, CLAS 2015, MPH 2016

Serena Fill, CLAS 1997

Ariana Moledina, CLAS 2013

Rick Mattingly, GSAC 1984

Valerie Pressley, SEAS 1984

Aaron Spence, EDUC 1994, 2003

Jeanne T. Anderson, Esq., CLAS 2000

Jasmine Drake, CLAS 2013

Zoe Bellars, CLAS 2014

Erin O. Mattingly, EDUC 2008

Jordan Fowler, CLAS 2014

Karen Swartz Harris, SARC 1984

Wendi E. Hill, CLAS 1986

Leigh Sessler, CLAS 2007

Dr. Deborah L. Stroman, EDUC 1982

Rabbi Philip Rice, CLAS 1992

Richard Payton, SEAS 1985

Nannearl LeKesia Brown, SEAS 2012, 2015

Jennna Pastuszek, CLAS 2009

Antoinette M. Jackson, Esq, CLAS 1984

Dr. Candice E. Brooks, CLAS 2000

Danielle J. Burks, CLAS 1992

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