Continue the pursuit of progress

Despite an oftentimes troubling semester, there is abundant cause to be hopeful for the future

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This photo was taken during "The March to Reclaim Our Grounds," where BSA's demands were made central to the protest.

Benjamin Burke | Cavalier Daily

With classes wrapping up and students gearing up for final examinations, the University community is bidding farewell to a bittersweet semester. Throughout the last four months, University students and faculty have enjoyed moments of hope and witnessed terrible tragedy. We celebrated memorable events such as the Bicentennial Launch, and suffered from the re-emergence of divisive and hateful rhetoric by white supremacists. This reemergence, however, has been met with strong opposition and objection by our community — a response which has been not only impactful, but unifying. This has been a heartening beacon of hope in a troubling time, and it is inspiring to see the community's continued commitment to progress.

In early August, white supremacists wielding torches marched through our city and Grounds seeking to sow fear and division into our community. The bloody demonstration took the lives of three people, including Charlottesville native Heather Heyer, and left a profound wound from which students, faculty and locals throughout Charlottesville continue to recover. In a resilient counter, members of our community came together and formed a sense of solidarity and collaboration through demonstrations and events such as the “March to Reclaim Our Grounds,” the Carr’s Hill protest and A Concert for Charlottesville. This sense of unity has been an invaluable part of the healing process for the Charlottesville community.

Students throughout the University have been increasingly active in calling out racial discrimination and inequality both within and outside our community. Student organizations staged several demonstrations throughout the semester calling for racial equality and justice — most notably by the Black Student Alliance with a 10-item list of demands, four of which have been actively implemented by the University administration.

This is not the first time our University has faced moments of adversity and hardship, and it certainly won’t be the last. What defines us, however, is our response to these crises. Being there for each other, cultivating a sense of community, calling out inequality and engaging in civil discourse with those we disagree with are the characteristics we have demonstrated this semester. As we move into the next semester, students must continue to lead the fight for racial justice and inclusivity.

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