Some college undergrads agree that it’s difficult for groups like Contracted Independent Organizations, sororities and fraternities to raise money, but not many have been able to come up with a solution.
Aneesh Dhawan, a third-year College student, noticed this struggle and also recognized how many people use Instagram. He connected the two by creating PurPics — a fundraising tool that makes raising money as easy as posting a picture on Instagram.
“The whole idea around PurPics is that fundraising is a lot harder than it needs to be, so let’s make it as easy as possible,” Dhawan said.
PurPics, which stands for “Pictures with a Purpose,” is an app that pairs student organizations trying to raise money with a brand trying to reach college audiences. PurPics works to pair a brand with a student organization that has a similar philanthropic interest. Ultimately, this partnership raises money for the student organization’s cause, while increasing publicity for the brand and its product.
Once PurPics matches a fundraising group with a brand, students use the PurPics app to post on Instagram with some reference to the brand’s product. Every time the picture receives a “like,” the featured brand donates a certain amount of money to the student’s philanthropy. In the past, brands have donated around five cents per “like.” However, PurPics is working to increase the donation to 10 cents per “like.” Brands that have already used this platform include Limitless Coffee, Ragged Mountain Running Shop, Nectar Sunglasses, Aviate brand hats and Tropical Bros.
Dhawan began developing the company in 2016 while he was still in high school and brought it to the University in 2017. He launched it with the help of Banning Stiffler, a fourth-year Batten student and former high school classmate, and Victor Layne, a third-year Commerce student and Dhawan’s first-year roommate.
Stiffler, director of networks at PurPics, and Layne, co-founder of the company, joined Dhawan simply because they wanted to help their friends struggling to raise money for their different organizations.
“We started it for our friends,” Dhawan said. “[It’s] designed by college students for college students.”
Pancakes for Parkinson’s, several sororities and dance marathons across 25 college campuses have used PurPics to raise money. Initially, PurPics spread organically to other colleges. When it first ran its campaigns at the University, students from other colleges who saw the posts reached out and asked to work with them. PurPics’ employees also personally reached out to their connections at other schools.
Fourth-year Batten student Sarah Pecsok used PurPics to fundraise for Pi Beta Phi’s philanthropy event, Miles for Margaret. Since Miles for Margaret is a 5k, PurPics connected the sorority with Ragged Mountain Running Shop, which sells sneakers and other running equipment to Charlottesville students and community members.
“I had a great experience with the app. It was simple to post a picture and it really caught the attention of my followers,” Pecsok said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “I loved that I was promoting our 5k and raising money for the great causes (Camp Kesem, ADAPT, and the Pi Phi Literacy Fund) we support at the same time.”
Although the students at PurPics have worked with many sororities, one of the most notable partnerships was their Zeta Tau Alpha Luna Bar campaign at the University. PurPics partnered Zeta Tau Alpha with Luna Bar because they both share an interest in women-related issues. Luna Bar sent Zeta Tau Alpha 1,000 Luna bars to be given out at their annual 5K that raises money for Think Pink, Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy supporting breast cancer awareness. For every “like” received by a picture posted through the PurPics platform featuring one of its products, Luna Bar would donate five cents to Think Pink.
As a result of Zeta Tau Alpha using PurPics, the sorority raised $1,000 for its cause, in addition to the other funds collected through the 5K registration fees and donations.
“Brands want to be socially conscious — they oftentimes have hundreds of thousands of dollars in a budget for them to be socially conscious and don’t know how their audience wants them to spend it,” Stiffler said. “So, if they can find a way to their consumers and listen to how they want the money to be used, then it all falls in line.”
Like any startup, PurPics has experienced challenges with getting support from brands and consumers.
“In the world of social media, it is hard to be loud enough for people to notice you,” Stiffler said.
Layne also admits that building up as many partnerships as possible can be difficult since there’s a lot of “back and forth,” a process which he described as frustrating and time-consuming. His most rewarding moment at the company was seeing the Zeta Tau Alpha Luna Bar campaign finally start to come together.
PurPics has worked in the i.Lab Incubator at the Darden School of Business, which supports the development of startups by providing them with funding, advisement and other resources. Dhawan took a year off from classes to work in the i.Lab and has continued there into the summer with the help of Stiffler and Layne.
Although PurPics doesn’t take any portion of the donations provided to each organization, it is not a non-profit since it charges a platform fee to businesses. This fee covers the cost of PurPics connecting them to student organizations and for using its software.
Although Dhawan, Stiffler and Layne are the three main operators of the app, they are also assisted by a full-time employee based in Austin, Texas, a three-member Board of Directors, two advisors and numerous interns that have helped them throughout the year. The board includes a director of marketing at Nestle, a board member from Dollar Tree as well as Dhawan.
Even though PurPics has come a long way in adding brand partnerships and student users, the app is still a work-in-progress, and the company continues to spend time and money improving its platform. It hopes to release a new update to the app and announce additional partnerships at the end of the summer.
The fate of a lawsuit seeking protection for the Foxfield horse racing course is slated to be decided on Aug. 28, Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Higgins ruled at a hearing Friday afternoon. During the hearing, Higgins heard four motions in a courtroom packed with dozens of people, many sporting “Save Foxfield Races” stickers.
Eight Albemarle County residents — each of whom is connected to the Foxfield racecourse — sued in December 2016 to stop the Foxfield Racing Association and its CEO, Thomas Dick, from selling the property and ending the races. They claim the former and now-deceased owner, Marianna S. de Tejeda, wrote in her will she had “but one wish for the remainder of [her] lifetime and after [her] death” — that the property may only be used for the Foxfield Races.
“That is to apply all my time, energies and financial resources to perpetuation of the Foxfield Races in Albemarle County for the recreation, education and enjoyment of the people of Albemarle County and their friends and visitors and of Virginia who appreciate equestrian sports, competition and related activities,” the will reads.
One of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgement — where a judge rules on a matter without additional hearings — aims to declare Tejeda’s will created a charitable trust, meaning it will be regulated under the Uniform Trust Code, which could prevent the sale of the Foxfield property. The motion for summary judgement addresses a similar question to the defendants’ two pleas in bar and one demurrer, which are motions to end the suit for factual reasons.
The plaintiffs claimed that the nature of horseracing allows it to fulfill Virginia’s statutory requirements for what a charitable trust can be, including the advancement of education.
“In today’s society, so many people, so many University students, don’t understand what a horse is [and] what a horse is capable of,” said William Hurd, an attorney with Troutman Sanders LLP representing the plaintiffs.
The Foxfield horse races occur twice a year. University students frequently attend the Spring races, which drew in 15,000 attendees this year.
After Hurd’s argument, Higgins asked if Foxfield’s actions could still be charitable if it charges a fee for entry.
“Teachers are paid, but that doesn’t undo the charitable nature of education,” Hurd replied.
Hurd also pointed to Tejeda’s will, which said the Foxfield Races should be perpetuated for the education of the people of Albemarle County, but defense attorney F. Douglas Ross with Odin, Feldman, and Pittleman, P.C., disagreed.
“Just because Mrs. Tejeda used the word in her will doesn’t mean that it satisfies what ‘education’ means in the statute,” Ross told the judge.
The second motion for summary judgement seeks to remove Dick and the Foxfield Racing Association from their posts as trustees — or managers — of the assets in Tejeda’s will.
“Tom Dick, who, by his own admission, did not know Mrs. Tejeda, would like to ignore her wishes and use Mrs. Tejeda’s estate for his own benefit and enrichment,” a filing from the plaintiffs reads. The defense argued that Dick did not explicitly seek to sell the property, but instead was doing his due diligence as a manager of the property by determining its value.
One plaintiff, Kiwi Hilliard, told reporters after the hearing she’s optimistic about the Aug. 28 hearing.
“I think we’re clearly on the winning side,” Hilliard said. “Anyone who reads [Tejeda’s] will could not be confused … we’re going to win this, for the county, for Albemarle.”
Defendants and their attorneys declined to comment following the hearing.
Upcoming horseracing events at Foxfield are slated for Oct. 7.
Third-year Engineering student Courtney Baugh said her mom submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in early October 2017, shortly after the application became available. She followed the University’s financial aid to-do list throughout the year, sending Student Financial Services everything it requested to process her financial aid award.
Yet, with only a little over two weeks until move-in day, Baugh had not received an award letter detailing the amount and type of aid she would earn for the school year.
Baugh was not alone. A quick scroll through Twitter and “What’s the Move” — a 1,700-person chat on GroupMe composed of mostly minority students — showed other University students asking the same question: Where’s my money?
“I didn’t know what would happen if I didn’t have the tuition”
Approximately 34 percent of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. Oftentimes, this award is much more than just an electronic piece of paper. It’s a student’s ticket to remaining at the University.
Students were not alerted about the delayed receipt of their financial aid package, and many were worried about what the lag meant for the Aug. 22 tuition deadline.
“I was really concerned about getting [the aid] before August 22 because I didn’t know what would happen if I didn’t have the tuition,” Baugh said. She had heard she would be dropped from her classes, and she anticipated it would be difficult to re-enroll in them since they were already filled.
Until an email was sent to affected students on Aug. 1, the financial aid office had been mostly quiet, save for those who contacted the office directly to express their concerns. But even then, the explanations were vague, said fourth-year College student Aya Eltahir.
An email sent Aug. 1 told students who receive financial aid to help pay for college that their accounts would be in good standing until Sept. 12 and no financial holds would be placed on their account during that time period. This extension gives students an opportunity to receive their award and pay any tuition their aid doesn’t cover while also allowing them to make adjustments to their class schedules. Financial Aid Director Scott Miller said the office wanted to take the stress off of students ahead of time.
“We try to be proactive with the students,” Miller said.
There are a number of reasons the office is behind schedule for awarding aid this year, Miller said. Shortly before they were going to begin processing awards for returning students, they lost a staff member. Additionally, an increased number of students were selected for federal verification this year — meaning the student and the financial aid office have to take extra steps to verify the information on the student’s FAFSA application — which added another phase to the process.
The Financial Aid office, located in SFS, has 10 staff members who work with other offices in SFS to assemble aid packages. After the March 1 deadline for applying for aid, the office uses a combination of federal and state loans, work-study opportunities and grants to create a package that meets 100 percent of the financial need for students. While loans have to be repaid, grants do not.
The University is one of only two public universities that meets the full financial need of students. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the other.
Once a student’s financial aid package is complete, they receive a letter on SIS detailing their award. The office automatically accepts grant aid, but students can choose to accept or deny loans or work-study awards.
“If I don’t get this money, I might not be able to come”
For some students, the frustration and anxiety doesn’t stem from the financial aid office’s delay itself — but what that delay means.
“It's not necessarily about when we're going to get the money,” third-year Commerce student Latrell Lee said. “It's just the fact that we still haven't gotten our money, school starts in a little over two weeks and if I don't get this money, I might not be able to come.”
Lee is a low-income student who depends on financial aid to attend U.Va. He is a transfer student, and while he said he isn’t sure why he initially wanted to attend the University, the generous financial aid solidified his decision. Last year, Lee received a financial aid package that covered all of his expenses without him having to take out any loans. It arrived to his SIS account that May.
However, the uncertainty surrounding how much aid he will receive this year has him worried. His mom is unemployed and his dad is a self-employed contractor. He said he can’t afford to be hit with surprises when his financial aid package arrives, and if it isn’t as much as he’s expecting, it could jeopardize his future at U.Va.
“I'm usually not too critical about U.Va. financial aid because I recognize that of course they're people, too,” Lee said. “But when you're talking about other people's money — money that's being invested in somebody's future — you can't play with that.”
Eltahir said the entire financial aid process was “definitely nerve-racking,” especially given this year’s delay. For the past three years, her financial aid package has consisted mostly of U.Va.-based funds with a loan that’s about $1,000, which she typically received around late June or early July. When that didn’t happen this year, she became anxious.
“For me as a minority, low-income student, a lot of things are contingent upon the aid that I receive,” Eltahir said. “If I don't get what I need, it's going to be very difficult for me to even be at the University.”
She uses the refund check she receives after her tuition is paid for the basic necessities she needs as a college student — rent, books and groceries. After a number of emails and phone calls — “I think I was kind of being annoying,” she said — Eltahir received her award Aug. 7, still much later than usual. However, despite receiving her aid, she still felt the same about the situation.
“Even though I received it, my feelings haven't changed because a lot of my peers still don't have their aid,” Eltahir said.
Miller said the office has tried to address these concerns from students as it is made aware of them.
“We've tried to be responsive to students who have said, 'You know, I really need my award now,'” Miller said. “We're trying to take care of those as we learn about them.”
“I wish they had communicated earlier”
Baugh said she has had a good experience every time she’s contacted the financial aid office. Lee said he’s always considered the office to be timely and found this year to be very unusual. They, like many others, just wish the office had let students know what was going on.
“I wish they had communicated earlier to people,” Eltahir said. “I don't know if this just due to my limited perspective and just the people around me, but I didn't feel that there was any type of urgency to explain the situation until a few weeks back when everyone was like, 'Did anyone get their financial aid?'”
It makes sense that they were behind schedule — they had a staff shortage, said Lee. But students didn’t know they had lost a staff member and they were working to complete more federal verifications. He said that if the office had a “hunch” that something wasn’t going to go right, students should have been told immediately.
“I wish he would've just told somebody,” Lee said. “That's all we've been wanting to know for the past few weeks. We just wanted to know what was going on. Why haven't we gotten our money?”
In the days following the Unite the Right anniversary weekend in Charlottesville, several community members have leveled sharp criticisms against the law enforcement response to a series of demonstrations which occurred in the City and at U.Va. throughout the weekend — despite local and state public safety officials declaring the response to be a success at a press conference Monday.
At a Charlottesville City Council listening session Tuesday, speakers addressed the Council and shared their criticisms of the public safety response this past weekend. Councilor Mike Signer was not present at Tuesday’s session.
“Imagine how different this weekend would have been if the police had understood that their primary responsibility is to protect the free speech rights of protesters and to keep them safe,” University Assoc. History Prof. John Mason said. “The police did not understand that as their primary responsibility, [and] they came in here with a really antagonistic attitude towards protesters, they saw them as the enemy.”
Mason also said the efforts of local individuals — which included Mayor Nikuyah Walker, Councilor Wes Bellamy, Vice Mayor Heather Hill, members of Congregate C’ville and Don Gathers, local Black Lives Matter co-founder — to de-escalate conflicts between demonstrators and law enforcement personnel were essential to maintaining safety throughout the weekend.
“We avoided a disaster despite the overwhelming presence of a thousand riot cops, not because of,” Mason said. “I understand the the primary purpose of policing in American history has always been to protect the powerful and to punish the weak, to put down dissent and protect the status quo … but it was painful to see it play out on the streets of Charlottesville.”
City resident Kathryn Lawn said the strong law enforcement presence in the area over the weekend was an impediment to demonstrations held throughout the weekend. Lawn cited an event at the intersection of Fourth Street and Water Street on Sunday in which individuals attempted to gather at the site where Heather Heyer was killed in a car attack last August. However, they were initially denied entry by law enforcement from Water Street as they had not gone through a checkpoint on either Second Street or Third Street to enter the Downtown Mall area.
“What I saw was that the extraordinarily overbearing and highly militarized presence of the police created problems at every turn,” Lawn said. “People who were peacefully gathering to remember, to mourn, sometimes to protest … it was the presence of the police that created tension and anger.”
In response to questions from the audience, Hill said she called Interim City Manager Mike Murphy Sunday afternoon to ask if it would be possible to temporarily remove the barricades to mitigate the situation. After about an hour of tense confrontation between law enforcement personnel and demonstrators, the barricades were permanently removed as announced by Bellamy that evening.
However, Bellamy also defended the use of the security checkpoints to the restricted access zone downtown on the grounds of public safety.
“There was no way for them [law enforcement] to know who was going back into that area,” Bellamy said. “But we don't know who was in that crowd, and god forbid that there was an individual … who I may not agree with [and] had went into that crowd because they didn't go back through that check point and did something very damaging, I would have been very upset.”
Local civil rights attorney Jeff Fogel also continued to criticize the decision by the City to conduct “consensual” bag searches at the checkpoints throughout the weekend.
At a press conference Aug. 8, Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney said in response to questions from media that there would not be bag searches conducted at the pedestrian access checkpoints. At a community briefing for the anniversary weekend last month, Brackney also said bags would be not searched.
Fogel said the practice has established a dangerous legal precedent with regards to the right to privacy in Charlottesville and beyond.
“This was a training a session, and this was a desire to perhaps make up for last year, but it's also making the notion that you can be stopped on the streets of your city without cause and be subject to a police search,” Fogel said. “And that is incredibly dangerous, that is the hallmark of an authoritarian society.”
In response to criticisms of the heightened security restrictions downtown and the bag searches during the weekend, Councilor Kathy Galvin said there were legitimate concerns regarding the potential for violence which prompted law enforcement personnel to implement such measures. Galvin specifically cited the Boston bombing terrorist attack in 2013, in which she said bags were not checked, as the type of attack which public safety officials feared could take place in Charlottesville this past weekend.
“There was a big concern that something like that could happen in Charlottesville,” Galvin said. “We were on high alert because this was a high target weekend for a high target community.”
However, Galvin conceded that there likely was an excessive law enforcement presence in the region and added that the details of any failings would be revealed in a comprehensive after action report currently being conducted by the various agencies in charge of the public safety response.
In response to the concerns expressed by many of the speakers, Walker said she understood the complaints being raised but asked community members to contextualize the events of this past weekend with the type of law enforcement she said she had experienced in the City growing up.
“I’m realizing that most of you don't have any idea what policing actually looks and feels like,” Walker said. “I want to make sure that you understand that the complaints you are talking about are very different from how black people, brown people and poor white people in this community have lived and have been policed … I did not see police officers as aggressive as I've seen them most of my life. But I will say that their mere presence makes it difficult for me to feel safe.”
Policy in South Africa roots itself in a history of struggle — as a society that suffered at the hands of a powerful, restrictive apartheid regime, South Africa had to reorient itself in the post-apartheid world beginning in 1994. A liberal constitution, framed upon rights to human dignity and freedom of expression that were previously ignored, promised an era of liberation and restoration. In this new context, policymakers and politicians find themselves grappling with their roles and responsibilities in the ethical fabric of South African democratic society. When it comes to public health policy, South Africa is a case study in itself on how policy, or lack thereof, can endanger the lives of thousands — and intensify the issue of mental illness.
Misguided HIV/AIDS policies — analyzed by the Harvard School of Public Health — riddled former President Thabo Mbeki’s era of governance, “causing a massive, unconscionable loss of human life” and sparking a conversation about public health malpractice. State-sponsored HIV/AIDS denial in South Africa during the early 2000s set a poor precedent for public health policy construction and implementation. Mbeki, Nelson Mandela’s successor, refused to offer AIDS treatment to the very people he was representing, insisting that HIV does not cause AIDS, since “HIV is a virus and AIDS is a syndrome.” In dismissing conclusive scientific data proving otherwise, Mbeki set in motion a form of governance that wholeheartedly neglected policy that would have introduced AIDS medicines in the public sector. Studies from the University of Cape Town and Harvard University estimate that this negligence “resulted in over 300,000 avoidable deaths in South Africa.”
This ignorance has ultimately laid an unstable foundation for public health policy — HIV/AIDS denial has significantly impacted policies surrounding mental illness and mental health care. While independent researchers comment that this “HIV/AIDS hypothesis was a mathematical impossibility,” they are neglecting to look outside the bounds of science, and acknowledge the fact that Mbeki’s refusal was a gross infringement on democratic duty in a newly post-apartheid state.
The failure to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic with policy has snowballed into inadequate mental health policy. The prevalence of mental health disorders among this population is a bleak testament to South Africa’s policy failure, and perpetuates a negative stigma associated with mental illness and outdated forms of care. Considering that “HIV/AIDS is associated with a significantly increased burden of neuropsychiatric disease and disability including depression, anxiety, psychosis and dementia,” it can be deduced that a lack of substantial policy construction and implementation addressing such a pandemic undermines any efforts to integrate the conversation of mental health — one reifies the other. According to the National Institute of Health, “A substantial portion of HIV test-seekers may have an existing mental disorder that is likely to go undetected and therefore untreated,” as the absence of treatment has become a norm rather than an exception in the face of a neglected health and development policy agenda.
Last revised in 1997, South Africa’s mental health policy is neither an official nor national plan — yet, 47 million people within the country’s borders live with “multiple societal-level socioeconomic risk factors for mental illness and disability.” This mental health gap, largely a consequence of poor physical health policy and agenda setting, is an issue of human rights. When our ignorance gives way to stigmatized behavior, individuals living with mental illness are “frequently subjected to human rights abuses.” While the case can be made that there are more pressing issues plaguing South Africa, including poverty, child mortality and disease, these challenges are ultimately compounded by and inseparable from mental health problems — “neuropsychiatric disorders — which include mental health and nervous system disorders — are the third largest contributor to the burden of disease after HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.” Mental health policy and management can no longer take the backseat.
A redirected focus on mental health would initiate an attempt to redress the infringement on human rights and ultimately escape the dark shadow that the apartheid era still casts over the newly democratic state. Dan Stein, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, has spearheaded efforts to move the conversation forward and offer hope for millions of people suffering from mental illness. In 2013, Stein facilitated the adoption process of the Mental Health Policy Framework (MHPF) for South Africa, which integrates mental health services within the South African context in order to best maintain an emphasis on human rights and the needs of vulnerable populations.
Yet again, we see history repeating itself. South Africa has developed a habit of marginalizing its most vulnerable, and continues to do so in a post-apartheid context. In keeping with the spirit of democracy, policymakers must take care to apply the lessons from the Mbeki presidency to the current state of mental health affairs in South Africa.
When representatives write and implement policy that de-stigmatizes mental health and seeks to dignify a group that has been repeatedly othered, South Africa will be one step closer to substantiating its title as a post-apartheid state.
Lucy Siegel is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily and was the 128th Opinion Editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Joining The Boston Globe, over 350 newspaper outlets around the country published editorials Thursday condemning President Donald Trump’s continued attacks on the freedom of the press. Established by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the government is barred from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Trump, however, has established a malicious campaign against newspaper and media outlets as a pillar of his presidency. At the surface, Trump’s assault is characterized by the targeting of individual journalists, such as Maggie Haberman, and scorn towards the industry as a whole — yet these jarring examples fail to fully capture the implications of Trump’s attack. His campaign against the press is grounded in an anti-democratic philosophy — and the free press stands directly in his way. Our responsibility as students is clear. We must condemn and combat Trump’s assault on the free press as the next generation to uphold this country’s foundation.
Trump is not the first president to criticize the free press, however the sustained nature of his assault points towards a declaration against the institution itself — something unprecedented for those who swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” President Lyndon B. Johnson famously criticized newspapers’ characterization of his presidency by saying, “If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.’” Even Thomas Jefferson, a vehement supporter of the free press, said several years into his second term as president that “the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them.” At first glance, these statements seem to demonstrate that Trump’s criticisms are innocuous — merely observations of a president frustrated with the press’ treatment of his actions and administration. This comparison, however, does not recognize Trump’s disregard for the vital role independent journalism serves in a democracy.
Instead of serving as the Fourth Estate — where the free press acts as an integral check on the powers of the government — Trump seeks to use the press as nothing more than a mouthpiece for his personal agenda. To adequately carry out its constitutional responsibility, the press must investigate Trump’s policies. This journalism, however, does not inherently lead to criticism — journalists pride themselves on objectivity and their ability to shed light on all factors of a given subject. Trump, however, disregards this objectivity, and assumes that any opposition to his administration stems from the press’ desire to upend his presidency. Take, for example, Trump’s comments on Aug. 22, 2017, when the president characterized journalists as “sick people,” stating that the press was “trying to take away our history and our heritage.” Through these and similar accusations, President Trump not only attempts to trivialize the importance of the press — he threatens to turn the American people against the very institution that makes us free.
As students, we are taught every day to be critical, and to develop a full understanding of all relevant facts before drawing a conclusion. In the case of Trump’s assault on the freedom of the press, it is our responsibility to recognize and denounce any attempt to undermine our democratic values. At the University, we can do so by engaging fully with student journalism outlets. The Cavalier Daily and its counterparts work tirelessly to provide an objective and accurate account of University life. Whether you offer criticism or praise, I implore you to approach media outlets with an open mind and a critical eye — the responsibility of upholding the freedom of the press falls to each of us.
The true danger — and goal — of Trump’s anti-media strategy lies in the creation of a perception among the American people that the press undermines, rather than strengthens, our democratic society. Characterized by an increasingly held belief among Americans that the news media is biased, the current climate provides Trump an opportunity to turn skepticism into outright contempt. We cannot allow this to happen.
Jake Lichtenstein is the Executive Editor of The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A number of Charlottesville community members are raising concerns about how law enforcement officials responded to a U.Va. Students United rally held outside of Brooks Hall at the University last weekend, organized on the one-year anniversary of a white supremacist torch-lit march through Grounds. The large numbers of police present at last weekend’s rally and the tactics officers used were criticized at a City Council community listening session Tuesday and on social media this week.
In particular, Jalane Schmidt, an associate professor of religious studies at the University and a local activist, said in a text message to The Cavalier Daily that she saw Virginia State Police personnel assemble during the rally, and added that one of them announced the event to be an unlawful assembly.
“I saw the VSP lining up, one of them had a bullhorn, and I heard him announce: ‘This is an unlawful assembly,’” Schmidt said. “The crowd then retreated, [because] we feared being tear gassed.”
Schmidt said she and many others never heard an officer communicate to the crowd that there was in fact no unlawful assembly declared near Brooks Hall last Saturday. In a Twitter exchange between Schmidt, Solidarity Cville and Gloria Graham, U.Va.’s associate vice president for safety and security, Graham confirmed that “an officer did announce an unlawful assembly, but the unified command center clarified one would not be declared.”
However, Schmidt said there was no clear or meaningful distinction between the “announcement” or “declaration” of an unlawful assembly to the civilians at the rally last Saturday, and added that the responsible agencies should admit to the mistake rather than “parsing the difference between "communicated," or "announced" vs. "officially declared.”
In an email to The Cavalier Daily, Deputy University Spokesperson Wes Hester said an officer did communicate to the crowd near Brooks Hall that an unlawful assembly had been declared but added that the unified command center overseeing public safety during the weekend — including officials from the University, City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management — decided against an official declaration of an unlawful assembly.
“A University police officer on Saturday evening initially communicated to the crowd gathered near Brooks Hall that the assembly was unlawful,” Hester said. “After receiving instructions from the Unified Command center that an unlawful assembly would not be declared at that time, the officer communicated that to the crowd. Fortunately, no official declaration of an unlawful assembly was necessary during the Saturday evening protest.”
At Tuesday’s City Council listening session, Kibiriti Majuto , a U.Va. Students United member, read a joint statement from Congregate Cville, Students United and the Charlottesville chapters of Black Lives Matter and Showing Up for Racial Justice regarding the rally and the law enforcement response to the Unite the Right anniversary weekend as a whole.
“This weekend in Charlottesville, we were able to join together in grief, rage, and celebration of resistance,” Majuto said. “Despite attempts by police to corral and intimidate us, we held space to listen to survivors of the physical and emotional trauma of last year’s White supremacist attack. We celebrated the collective resilience of our ongoing anti-racist community mobilization.”
Courtney Koelbel, a representative of the Central Virginia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, also read a statement on behalf of the organization condemning the law enforcement response to and the heightened security restrictions — including metal detectors and a capacity limit — at the rally Saturday.
“When riot police inexplicably interrupted the event, community members, including a line of clergy, de-escalated the near-violence,” Koelbel said. “Students then took to the streets. Spanning the city, the 200 marchers successfully re-established their peaceful gathering outside of a militarized presence. Meanwhile, more than one hundred riot police, with canisters of chemical weapons at the ready, lined the then-abandoned Rotunda and Thomas Jefferson statue.”
Graduate College student Kyle Chattleton criticized the presence of law enforcement personnel in riot gear and their “kettle” assembly near the Academical Village Saturday, while students and community members were peacefully organizing near Brooks Hall. Kettling is a police tactic used to control large crowds in which personnel form lines or other barriers to block or control the movement of individuals.
“They responded by lining up next to the Academical Village in riot gear,” Chattleton said. “We act like lessons are being learned from last year so we are going to over police [this year]. Part of the solution is not seeing students peacefully protest on their terms and responding to that by saying, ‘Better get ready to kettle them.’”
In response to questions from speakers regarding the role of Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy in de-escalating conflicts between demonstrators and law enforcement personnel near Brooks Hall Saturday, Bellamy said he tried to mediate between the two.
“Even in this position when I saw the police marching … my blood pressure went up,” Bellamy said. “Just that conversation with them about, ‘Let’s understand where each other are coming from,’ and the lieutenant’s response was, ‘I can see your perspective, we are only here as a precaution.’”
Bellamy added that he wanted the police officers to understand why they might appear threatening to the demonstrators given their line formation and possession of shields. After he spoke with a lieutenant on the scene, Bellamy said the law enforcement personnel lowered their shields and tensions de-escalated.
After a standoff between demonstrators and law enforcement personnel Sunday at the intersection of Fourth Street and Water Street, Bellamy also announced that the Downtown Mall checkpoints and surrounding street barricades would be removed.
With regards to the white nationalist torch-lit march through Grounds Aug. 11, 2017, City resident Ann Marie Smith said she had yet to hear almost any public officials in the City or at the University apologize for the failings of law enforcement personnel to keep students and community members safe when demonstrators surrounded them at the Jefferson statue on the North side of the Rotunda. An independent review of last summer’s events by former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy described the response of the University Police Department to the torchlit rally as “woefully inadequate.”
However, Smith cited remarks from University President Jim Ryan at an event held Saturday morning at Old Cabell Hall, in which Ryan apologized to people who were attacked by white supremacists during the torch-lit rally last year. Ryan also apologized again at an event hosted by the Charlottesville-Albemarle NAACP Sunday evening.
“I heard Jim Ryan apologize at a ticketed event … but that was the first time I heard anyone take a mini-stab at apologizing for what an institution is responsible for,” Smith said.
Rapper T-Pain will perform in a concert at U.Va. later this month, the University Programs Council announced in an email to the student body Wednesday.
T-Pain is set to take the stage at the McIntire Amphitheater Aug. 25 at 9 p.m., beginning UPC’s “Hoo’s Home” night. The concert will help kick off UPC’s annual Welcome Week.
T-Pain, or Faheem Rashad Najm, is a rapper who topped the charts in 2007 with his second album Epiphany. The two time Grammy-award winner produced subsequent hit singles in the 2000s and early 2010s such as “I'm 'n Luv (Wit a Stripper),” “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')” and “5 O'Clock.” He was a feature artist in songs alongside Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne and Flo Rida.
The concert will be free for students and will be followed by late night events in and around the Aquatic and Fitness Center, including a mechanical bull, photo booth, LED mini golf, casino games and food trucks. “Hoo’s Home” is a collaboration with IM-Rec, UVA Dining, Housing & Residence Life and class councils.
Welcome Week, which runs Aug. 24 to 31, will also include performances from comedian Sasheer Zamata, hypnotist Tom Deluca and a screening of “Black Panther.”
In the email announcing the Welcome Week events, UPC chair Debbie Yoo said UPC will host another concert at John Paul Jones arena later in the fall semester.
“The UPC Executive Board made the decision to wait until later in the semester for this concert since it gives the artist greater flexibility in choosing a date to perform, instead of being limited to one night,” Yoo said. “More details and ticketing for the Fall JPJ Concert will be announced soon.”
Last year, the Welcome Week concert featuring Future and Lil’ Yachty was cancelled in response to the events of Aug. 11 and 12. Both artists expressed safety concerns in visiting Charlottesville after last summer’s white nationalist rallies. A month later, UPC hosted a concert featuring D.R.A.M. and Cherub in replacement of the cancellation.
Summer is a time to start over, to begin fresh. It’s a tabula rasa, if you will, dear reader. For some of us, this means catching up on our reading for pleasure, spending more time with our families and beginning LSAT prep. For others, it means binge watching all of “Game of Thrones” in seven days time. It doesn’t matter which one I am. But #TeamNightKing.
What do these two groups have in common? You might think, “Well, nothing, you silly girl! One is a cultured, dignified, reasonable person with a heart of gold. The other is a slobbery mess who cringes at sunlight.” Perhaps, dear reader. Perhaps. But they both have one other shared goal. Both the Jane Austen character and the slobbery mess want that summer bod. They both gained ten pounds in stress eating during finals. They both crave that feeling of success in climbing the stairs without gasping for air. They both want to enjoy a five mile run in the dead of summer, and shrug it off like it ain’t no thang. But how?
Do not fret, for I have included my exact summer diet and exercise plan. And I can tell you, I have seen very little progress. If you follow this plan exactly, you will, too.
First, I picked the hottest day of the summer to go for my first run in months against the better judgement of my family, friends and doctors. At exactly 3 P.M., in 94 degree heat, I left my house and began my trek. Half a mile in, I yakked in a bush. This might seem undesirable, but it’s actually just your body getting used to the heat. This shows progress.
I followed this up with a light meal of cheese fries and a Chunky Monkey milkshake from the Silver Diner. So basically, some root vegetables and bananas. Really try to stick to the basics here. Don’t get into anything fancy, like avocado toast. Actually, just stay away from avocados altogether. You want to be a homeowner someday, right?
Don’t run the next day, or really the next week. Your body needs time to recover from such an exertion. If you must do something active, go to the mall, walk around, and spend all your money. The acquisition of material goods will make you more likely to go to the mall and spend all your money in the future, which means more cardio. It’s basic psychology, really.
Once you feel your body has fully recovered from the week before, you should again attempt to push it beyond its breaking point. Get a bunch of equally out of shape and uneducated friends to go do something active that none of you are physically or emotionally prepared for, like hot yoga. My activity of choice was a strenuous hike on a remote trail. So when I inevitably got heat stroke and nearly passed out, nobody was there to see it. It was less embarrassing that way.
My final recommendation is to engage your theatrical side and create your own summer workout montage. Wear a cute lil’ outfit, add in some intense music, and maybe even throw a villain in there. It’ll be, like, 10 whole minutes of working out, followed by a few hours of video editing. Not only can you share it on your Facebook and have all your mom’s friends rooting for you in the comments, but you can look to it for motivation. After all, everybody loves a good montage hero.
You might be asking why I don’t simply start running on a treadmill each day until I build up the stamina to run outside? Well, that’s silly. I don’t have the discipline for that. And neither do you, probably. But if you do, you can ignore the above in its entirety. Actually, even if you don’t, that might still be the way to go. I have no idea what I’m talking about. Hell, I just sit at home watching “Game of Thrones.”
Katie Tripp is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at email@example.com.
These days, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who does not have a Twitter account or who has not at least heard of Twitter. In fact, if you could find someone who hasn’t heard of Twitter, please let me know because that is crazy. People, both young and old, are often enamored with Twitter users who have massive followings, whether they deserve the fans or not. Now, I can finally provide to you, the reader, a few tips and tricks that might launch you into 140-character stardom. Wait, it’s 280 now, isn’t it? You get the idea.
1) Become actually famous
Yes, yes, this one is pretty obvious. However, from what I can tell, most famous people really attract Twitter followers at a much more rapid rate than non-famous people, so maybe you should give it a try, too. If you’re famous, the followers will come. Isn’t that a quote from “Field of Dreams?”
2) Relatable college posts
Ah, relatable college posts. This one is an absolute classic, and it is incredibly easy to execute. Have you ever done something, and I mean anything, in college? Ever? No matter the mundane task? Perfect. All you have to do is talk about said task and relate it back to taking a nap.
“Ugh do you ever just open up your textbook and immediately need to nap? Bc same.”
“Everyone is trying to go out on Thursday night but I’m just trying to extend my nap into a deep sleep.”
Ah, you’re so relatable and quirky! Bring in those retweets.
3) Bot accounts
Now this one ramps the difficulty level for execution up a bit, but its effectiveness is unparalleled, as it removes all possible outside error. Now, theoretically, you would want over a million followers, as this would show that you’re at a level of fame that is on a tier of its own, but I would say being at 100K is a perfect base to show the outside world that you’re someone who deserves attention. Now, all you have to do is create 100,000 Twitter accounts and follow yourself with all of them! Easy peasy, lickity split. Get those burner email accounts ready.
4) Be the president
Now, is it just me, or does the President have a Twitter account? Sorry. I had to get political there, but if the leader of the free world can use a social media site as their main tool of galvanizing a radical, fanatical base, then so can you! If you manage to sneak into the 2020 race, prepare for your Twitter numbers to steadily rise. Get your block button ready!
5) Take the Twitter team hostage
Do you know where Jack Dorsey (Twitter’s founder and former CEO) lives? Well, if not, you need to figure that out fast in order to use this method. Since he is the man behind all the madness, all you need to do is take him and members of his team hostage! Don’t demand a monetary ransom, as that would be foolish. Money and other Earthly possessions are temporary, but a large Twitter following is forever. Force him to make that number next to your username massive!
6) Work in The Old Coal Mine Down the Road
I know you could’ve seen this one coming from a mile away, but that doesn’t undermine just how effective this method is. Now, we all know that everyone who works in The Old Coal Mine Down the Road is incredibly popular — both domestically and internationally — and thus all 23 employees make up the top 23 spots on the “Most Followers on Twitter” list. So dust off that old mining helmet, and send in your application to The Old Coal Mine Down the Road (and thus, stardom.)
7) Recover the Scepter of Dagobert
If you have stuck around this far in the article, you’re a real homie, and thus I will reward you with the best possible strategy to becoming Twitter famous — recovering the Scepter of Dagobert. Lost in 1795 from the Basilica of St. Denis in France, this French relic that originated in the 7th Century is one of the more famous missing treasures in the world. If you were to find it, your Twitter following would surely go up, and you’d probably be indoctrinated into the French monarchical system. Bonus!
See, becoming famous on Twitter isn’t so hard! These are seven easy ways to do it, and only one of them requires taking anyone hostage! With six non-hostage options paired with an option for the bolder readers out there, there is sure to be a solution for you.
Ben Miller is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local, state and regional officials are saying the public safety and security response to the one-year anniversary of last summer’s violent Unite the Right rally was largely a success, despite facing sharp criticisms from some community members of the heavy law enforcement presence in the region and heightened security measures in downtown over the weekend.
“Our job as public safety professionals is to prepare for worst case scenarios,” Charlottesville Fire Chief Andrew Baxter said during a press conference with officials Monday afternoon. “I believe deeply that our commitment to that understanding and the planning process that flowed from that is the basis for our success as a unified team this past weekend.”
Well over a thousand law enforcement personnel were in the Charlottesville area for the anniversary, including 700 Virginia State Troopers and 300 National Guard personnel.
The strong showing of a variety of state, local and regional law enforcement agencies was protested during several of the anti-racist demonstrations which took place during the weekend.
Even though the demonstrations remained largely peaceful, a handful of arrests were made throughout the weekend and a number of scuffles occurred between demonstrators and law enforcement personnel. However, Baxter said no major injuries were reported by officials.
While most of the officials who spoke considered the planning, execution and response to the events of the anniversary weekend to be successful, Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney noted some of the heightened security measures in place — including a restricted access zone established around the downtown mall with two checkpoints which required “consensual” bag searches to prevent the admittance of prohibited items.
In response to a question from a reporter about what mistakes may have been made, Brackney said it was too early to authoritatively conclude where improvements could have been made in the planning and execution process.
Brackney added that social media posts concerning suspicious activity — which officials encouraged individuals to share with multiple agencies — submitted to the City and other law enforcement agencies by the public revealed that there were counterintelligence efforts being conducted by individuals in the days before the anniversary weekend to reveal the location of police officers and alternate means of access into the restricted access zone downtown. She said these submissions were a motivating factor in the implementation of the bag searches.
“There were screening processes in place, and everyone was actually given the opportunity,” Brackney said. “There was no one who was searched that was not consensual. Actually everyone was allowed in, it was their items that were not allowed in or did not have access.”
In response to questions from reporters about a justification for the massive law enforcement presence in the region over the weeked, Brackney said the planning process was not only centered around the potential presence of “alt-right” groups.
“[There] is the variable of the unknown, and that's what we have to plan for,” Brackney said. “Because even if you have those who are not necessarily on the alt-right, you could have people who decide to do counter-surveillance and plant themselves into very good causes so they can have their messages be heard. I don't plan for whether it’s the alt-right or any group that’s coming, I plan based on for who we know to be coming.”
Cville Police chief RaShall Brackney speaks on anti-racist demonstrations in the city this past weekend. pic.twitter.com/RMVInxHSTk— Geremia Di Maro (@DiMaroCDNews) August 13, 2018
Cville Police chief RaShall Brackney speaks on anti-racist demonstrations in the city this past weekend. pic.twitter.com/RMVInxHSTk
Brackney also said law enforcement personnel exercised great restraint throughout the weekend — in terms of crowd management and interaction with demonstrators — for the greater good of public safety.
“In terms of how the community felt and how we responded, I think the community saw that we responded in the way that we should have responded,” Brackney said. “Professionally, and acknowledging that there are a lot of grievances.”
Brackney said there were three assaults on law enforcement personnel during the weekend, but added that they were still under investigation. Baxter further added that three law enforcement officers were treated for heat related injuries but not hospitalized. He also said six civilians were treated — of those, two were transported to U.Va. Medical Center in stable condition.
Brackney added that law enforcement personnel from Henrico County, Augusta County and George Mason University were among a few of the law enforcement agencies that aided in the regional response during the weekend.
With regards to a rally hosted by U.Va. Students United near the Rotunda Saturday night, Gloria Graham — University associate vice president for safety and security — said U.Va. was supportive of the event. The rally was originally planned for the North Plaza of the Rotunda but was quickly relocated to the grass triangle beside Brooks Hall seemingly in protest of the heightened security the University enforced on the North Plaza area, which included a capacity limit and metal detectors for entry.
“We worked closely with the organizers of that event, we supported them wholeheartedly in their event, [and] I worked directly with that group,” Graham said. “We appreciate those who attended that event on Saturday. It was a peaceful protest, and we support peaceful protests … and to express their First Amendment rights as a whole.”
Graham added that the strong showing of security at the rally — including a line of law enforcement personnel in riot gear — was necessary due to the lack of knowledge regarding the risks for danger.
Gloria Graham, https://t.co/yazzYueUcc's associate Vice President of safety and security, speaks on the https://t.co/yazzYueUcc Students United rally held Saturday. pic.twitter.com/2Ta3wVmZ4G— Geremia Di Maro (@DiMaroCDNews) August 13, 2018
Gloria Graham, https://t.co/yazzYueUcc's associate Vice President of safety and security, speaks on the https://t.co/yazzYueUcc Students United rally held Saturday. pic.twitter.com/2Ta3wVmZ4G
“The significant security presence was a product of uncertainty,” Graham said. “You can expect us as public safety officials to plan and to do things that minimize the opportunity for risk and criminal incidents to occur in the community.”
Brian Moran, the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, said the planning and preparation for the weekend was driven by a desire to prevent anything like the ill-fated rally from ever occurring in the Commonwealth of Virginia again.
Moran also praised the anti-racist demonstrators who took to the streets of Charlottesville and the University throughout the past weekend.
“I want to thank many of the protesters,” Moran said. “They articulated their grievances in a manner that was peaceful and observed other persons’ safety concerns. The First Amendment is tough, and public safety must be balanced [with] our First Amendment rights. It's not always easy, but I think we observed this weekend [that] we accomplished that.”
On the one-year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted a “Time for Reflection and Healing” forum at the Zion Union Baptist Church Sunday evening. Among the speakers, past-president for the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP M. Rick Turner, University President Jim Ryan, Susan Bro and Assoc. History Prof. John Mason called for change against ongoing racism in Charlottesville.
Ryan — who began his tenure as the University’s ninth president at the beginning of the month — reiterated his apology to protesters present at the torchlit white supremacist march on Grounds last August and acknowledged their hardships.
“I can’t imagine what it was like being there … experiencing the pain and the trauma, injuries, and deaths,” Ryan said.
Ryan first apologized to last year’s protestors at “The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal,” which the University hosted Saturday.
At Sunday’s event, Ryan shared a story about a group that had come together at St. Paul’s Church — just across the street from the Rotunda — on Aug. 11 last year to pray over what was going to happen that weekend with the Unite the Right rally expected the following day. The group was told by police to stay in the church as white supremacists gathered on Grounds and marched closer to the area.
An independent review of the events of Aug. 11 and 12 by former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy also documented active threats made against the church and parishioners that evening.
“As the group inside listened to the chants and violence and saw flames through the windows, fear began to rise that someone might set the church on fire,” Ryan said. “So those inside sang. On a night filled with so much hate, the people in that church tried to drown it out with love. May we all follow in their example.”
Ryan also focused on the history of racism in Charlottesville, saying that such injustice was one of the reasons he accepted the position as President.
“It was in watching what happened [last year] that I decided to accept the offer,” he said. “I had a feeling that what happened last year would pull conversations out that were long overdue.”
Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer — the 32 year old who was killed when a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters at the Unite the Right rally last year — spoke candidly about the loss of her daughter and the events that surrounded her murder and memorial. Bro asked that people focus on the current issues of racism in the community instead of the death of her daughter.
“I’m tired because the world acts like one white girl dying is the end of the world.,” Bro said. “The last month I’ve spent 14 hour days dealing with press. Did Trayvon Martin’s mother get that?”
Earlier in the day, Bro spoke at a memorial for her daughter on the anniversary of her death on Fourth Street in downtown Charlottesville.
Turner said now is the time to confront these problems of racism and injustice, not side-step them.
Turner reminded the crowd that there are two Charlottesvilles — one black and one white. Turner said the textbooks in local schools must reflect justice, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center study that showed that only 8 percent of the high school seniors they surveyed could identify slavery as the main cause of the Civil War.
Mason spoke on the many ways that racism is perpetuated in Charlottesville today, noting that Charlottesville had problems long before the white supremacists came last August.
Providing a current example of racial injustice, Mason noted that University dining hall employees and custodial staff, many of whom are black, not being paid living wages — an hourly rate that allows an individual to support a family when working full time — or having the opportunity to earn higher positions. The University’s current minimum pay for entry-level employees is $12.38 an hour, though this does not include contracted workers, such as employees of Aramark food services, who can make as little as $7.25 an hour. According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, a living wage in Charlottesville is $12.02 an hour.
“I’m grateful to a new generation of activists … you have the opportunity to change,” Mason said. “We have to repair the damage.”
Mason spoke directly to Ryan about a nickname for the University among black community members — the plantation — because of its long history of injustice.
“I’m not here to praise you,” Mason said, directed at Ryan. “I’m here to welcome you to the plantation.”
Ryan, who spoke after Mason, acknowledged Mason’s statements.
“This is my twelfth day as president at the University of Virginia,” Ryan said, “and apparently, I have a fair bit of work to do.”
Correction: This article originally misstated the University’s minimum wage as $11.76 an hour. It has been updated to reflect the current minimum wage of $12.38 an hour.
The Charlottesville Police Department is investigating a possible assault on one of its officers Saturday evening at the Downtown Mall, according to a press release issued Sunday night.
The release alleges the officer and a masked man came into contact and fell to the ground. Several demonstrators — who were marching downtown from Grounds — proceeded to surround the officer and man on the ground, the release says.
Shortly thereafter, the release says law enforcement officials separated the group and the demonstrators rejoined the march.
The officer was not injured, and no injuries were reported for either the masked man or the demonstrators who intervened.
Charges related to the incident remain pending.
On the one-year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir brought hundreds of people together Sunday afternoon to sing for “healing, harmony and fun,” in what they called the “C’ville Sing Out.” The event was moved from IX Art Park to its rain location inside Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church due to inclement weather conditions.
Event organizer Elly Tucker explained the concept behind the Sing Out in an interview before the event, stating that the idea actually predated the Aug. 12 Unite the Right rally. Tucker has been a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir for years and had a large part in organizing the event.
“Somebody had seen a video of something called 'Choir Choir Choir' in Toronto and their pop up choirs…” Tucker said, “And [this person] said ‘Wouldn’t this be fantastic if Charlottesville could do something like this?’ and then August 12 happened, and after that we started thinking about what we could do to bring Charlottesville together in a beautiful way.”
However, Tucker emphasized the event was intended to bring people together.
“Not in a political … marching, fist-up kind of way,” Tucker said, “But in an inclusive way where we’re bringing lots of different elements [and] people from the community together who don’t know what else to do today. They don’t want to go underground, they don’t want to stay in their houses, they don’t want to do anything dangerous, they want to do something that’s uplifting and building peace and brotherhood and sisterhood.”
“This is democracy, this is inclusivity, this is the leadership we need to see more of in the future,” said local musician Stephen Said, one of the guest solo performers at the event.
After a short introduction, Said led the choir in a rendition of his own song, “We The People”. The music video, which was filmed in Charlottesville and Richmond, features numerous youth and local activists in those cities.
The Sing Out drew in hundreds of community members, which was surprising to the event organizers. Tucker commented on the flood of advance sign-ups the organizational team received.
“Our initial plan was to have 100 people,” Tucker said, “We thought that would be really cool- two weeks after we opened we had 200 people, and then 300. And as of last week we had 400 people… And we have walk-ins today!”
The audience for the event was actively engaged with the performance, and some attendees were watching through livestreams in rooms throughout Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church. In different rooms, members of the audience began clapping in time with the singers and many began singing themselves. During a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, the audience stood on their feet and swayed, singing along with the choir.
The question of security was important to the organization of the event, as it was originally planned to be held adjacent to downtown Charlottesville where tight security restrictions, including limited pedestrian access and road closures, were in place in anticipation of potential white supremacist demonstrations. The organizers hired a private security firm for the event.
“Because we’re on a private property, we do have the right to kick people out,” Tucker said, “It’s not that we want to exclude anybody, we just don’t want any trouble. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re not here to protest, we’re not here to march. We’re here to make music.”
The event followed a number of anti-racist demonstrations that took place during the weekend — including a march from the Rotunda to Market Street Park in downtown Charlottesville Saturday night, a rally held in Booker T. Washington Park Sunday morning and a subsequent protest at the intersection of Fourth Street and Water Street.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Approximately two dozen individuals gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House Sunday afternoon to commemorate the deadly Unite the Right rally last August in Charlottesville. Although a much larger demonstration was expected — the rally’s permit estimated between 100 and 400 protesters — the white supremacist demonstrators were greatly outnumbered by thousands of counterprotesters, who assembled in the opposite side of the park, separated by police and barricades.
Looking down at Lafayette Square counterprotest pic.twitter.com/eNUFUB6rtt— Thomas Roades (@RoadesToGlory) August 12, 2018
Looking down at Lafayette Square counterprotest pic.twitter.com/eNUFUB6rtt
Counterprotesters held signs referencing last year’s events on Aug. 11 and 12 with images of broken tiki torches and statements in memory of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old paralegal who was killed in last year’s car attack. Numerous counterprotesters held signs reading, “From Charlottesville to the White House: Shut down white supremacy!”
"From Charlottesville to the White House: Shut down white supremacy!" pic.twitter.com/uyBKJTJfy9— Alexis Gravely (@_AlexisWasHere) August 12, 2018
"From Charlottesville to the White House: Shut down white supremacy!" pic.twitter.com/uyBKJTJfy9
Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler was granted a permit to rally in Lafayette Square by the National Park Service. Kessler had previously applied for a permit to host an anniversary rally in Charlottesville and sued the City when the permit was denied. Late last month, he withdrew his motion to force the City to give him a permit, just before a judge was set to rule on it.
Hundreds of Metropolitan Police Department officers assembled in the Square and the surrounding areas. Officers, some mounted on horseback, lined the fences separating the large crowd of counterprotesters from the cluster of white supremacists.
The police presence extended beyond the park and into the nearby streets, with police cars and vans barricading many entrances. Police cyclists lined the streets outside Lafayette Square and down Pennsylvania Avenue near the Foggy Bottom Metro station, where the rally participants arrived in D.C.
Police on bikes and motorcycles moving down H Street toward Lafayette Square, planned site of the #UniteTheRight2 rally pic.twitter.com/VJXO1SwByN— Thomas Roades (@RoadesToGlory) August 12, 2018
Police on bikes and motorcycles moving down H Street toward Lafayette Square, planned site of the #UniteTheRight2 rally pic.twitter.com/VJXO1SwByN
According to CNN, the white supremacists — including organizer Kessler — arrived at Foggy Bottom Metro station at 3 p.m., two hours earlier than scheduled. A police escort surrounded the rally participants as they walked from the Metro station to Lafayette Square, keeping them separated from the counterprotesters that lined the sidewalks.
With little direct interaction between the white supremacists and the counterprotesters, the rallies did not escalate to the violence that marked the original Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. At that event, in addition to the car attack resulting in the death of Heyer, several dozen protesters were injured in violent clashes between the opposing groups.
MPD limited media access to the white supremacists’ section of Lafayette Square, saying approximately a dozen journalists had been allowed into a small press area near rally. Officials said the U.S. Park Police had then issued orders to cut off press access.
Four different speakers, including Kessler, addressed the Unite the Right participants. During his speech, Kessler said the smaller crowd was due to protesters from last year being scared to return and express their views.
“They felt like last year, they came to express their point of view,” Kessler said. “They were attacked, and when they fought back, they were overly prosecuted.”
Throughout the 40-minute rally, counterprotesters indicated they did not welcome the white supremacists’ presence, shouting, “shame,” and telling protesters to “go home.” As a few participants were exiting Lafayette Park without a police escort, they were surrounded by counterprotesters who yelled, “f—k you, Nazis!”
Shortly after 5 p.m., as the white supremacists were escorted out of the park and a thunderstorm intensified, the larger crowds of counterprotesters began to slowly disperse. Some continued to march through the surrounding streets, chanting and waving banners — these included antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters who remained nearby protesting the police presence.
By 6 p.m., the crowds had dispersed and streets that had been closed for the rally had reopened.
The Charlottesville Downtown Mall has reopened following restrictions on pedestrian access for the one-year anniversary weekend of the deadly Unite the Right rally, the City announced Sunday afternoon. The move came after tense confrontations between protesters and state police throughout the afternoon, as well as four arrests.
Early Sunday evening, police removed barriers from cross streets accessing the mall as well as security checkpoints required for entry.
Police clashed with anti-racist activists as they left the “Still Defending Cville” rally at Booker T. Washington Park and began walking towards the Downtown Mall late Sunday morning. To the chagrin of many marchers — who expressed anti-racist and anti-police sentiments in their chants — police officers escorted them to the mall along a closed-off Preston Avenue.
The crowd was aiming to “hold space” for survivors of violence last August at the location of the car attack near Fourth Street, which is called Heather Heyer Way, and Water Street — but police refused their entrance. The officers donned riot gear and moved into a defensive formation, which angered the demonstrators.
Charlottesville resident Jesse Beard, 42, was arrested for obstruction of free passage after standing in front of police motorcycle units at 11:04 a.m., according to a press release from the Charlottesville-Albemarle-UVA Joint Information Center. Spotsylvania resident Martin Clevenger, 29, and Charlottesville resident Veronica Fitzhugh, 40, were both arrested for disorderly conduct after a verbal altercation near Market Street Park. Beard, Clevenger and Fitzhugh were all released on a summons.
Man arrested on 8th and Preston. Officials won't say why, but I saw him standing in front of motorcycles. Toby Beard. pic.twitter.com/49n7Oh4Wy3— Jake Gold (@jake_gold) August 12, 2018
Man arrested on 8th and Preston. Officials won't say why, but I saw him standing in front of motorcycles. Toby Beard. pic.twitter.com/49n7Oh4Wy3
Maine resident Chloe Lubin, 29, was arrested on charges of assault and battery, disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice and possession of a concealed weapon, the release said. Police witnessed Lubin spitting in the face of a demonstrator near Heather Heyer Way. After resisting arrest, the release said police discovered Lubin was concealing a metal baton. Lubin was released on an unsecured bond.
After a gathering at the memorial for Heather Heyer — who was killed in the car attack last August — protesters gathered on both sides of the police barricade and confronted police officers. Around 2 p.m. the standoff between protesters and police became physical.
Shouts erupted at the intersection of Heather Heyer Way and Water St. Demonstrators have seemed to clash with police pic.twitter.com/SfifXxwyHf— Maggie Servais (@maggie_servais_) August 12, 2018
Shouts erupted at the intersection of Heather Heyer Way and Water St. Demonstrators have seemed to clash with police pic.twitter.com/SfifXxwyHf
Protesters remained in a tense confrontation with the police for over half an hour, occasionally shouting taunts and chants. Around 2:30 p.m., police officers removed the barrier from the end of Heather Heyer Way along Water Street for protesters to pass through. The majority of the crowd did not exit the area.
Shortly following, members of Congregate Charlottesville — a faith-based justice and advocacy group — formed lines to separate the rows of police officers from protesters who chose to the cross the street. A little after 3 p.m. police reinstalled the barricade at the end of Heather Heyer Way. The police did not widely explain to protesters that the barriers would be reinstalled and many remained outside of the security line on Water Street.
Members of @CongregateVille are forming a buffer for anyone who wants to cross Water St to leave. pic.twitter.com/FHATgfWEQ7— Jake Gold (@jake_gold) August 12, 2018
Members of @CongregateVille are forming a buffer for anyone who wants to cross Water St to leave. pic.twitter.com/FHATgfWEQ7
Less than 30 minutes later, City Councilor Wes Bellamy announced the reopening after discussing with officers on the scene. In an interview with The Cavalier Daily, Bellamy said the police presence at the intersection could be excessive.
Councilor Wes Bellamy on today's police showing: "I don't think the police necessarily want to be here." pic.twitter.com/aJiiZN902n— Jake Gold (@jake_gold) August 12, 2018
Councilor Wes Bellamy on today's police showing: "I don't think the police necessarily want to be here." pic.twitter.com/aJiiZN902n
On the one-year anniversary of the deadly car attack that ended her daughter’s life, Susan Bro and other activists gathered to honor Heather Heyer’s life at the site of where a vehicle plowed through a crowd of people protesting the white supremacist Unite the Right rally last August.
In a speech, Bro thanked activists for being present, but she quickly added that the events of the weekend are not just about Heyer.
“Oh my dear heavens, there were so many people who were wounded that day,” Bro said. “People who are suffering — injured. There is so much healing to do.”
When Bro arrived, she entered through a crowd of Virginia State Police officers, rather than of the designated checkpoints. The officers moved aside and moved the barricade so she could pass through. Activists banded together to give Bro privacy but made room for the media when Bro asked them to put their hands down.
Bro said there are racial disparities in Charlottesville and throughout the country, noting that “we have got to fix this, or we’ll be back right here in no time.”
“There are mothers who lose their children all the time, and we don’t think to give a damn,” Bro told the crowd. “The world went crazy when Heather lost her life, and that's not fair. I don’t want other mothers to be in my spot. I don’t want other mothers to go through this.”
Bro also thanked Virginia State Police for their presence and sacrifice, leaving flowers for the two officers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M. M. Bates, who were killed in a helicopter crash related to last year’s events.
The memorial service concluded with song and community members hugging Bro. After Bro was done addressing the crowd, the activists dispersed without incident.
Last December, the City of Charlottesville dedicated a portion of Fourth Street — where the car attack occurred — as Heather Heyer Way.
The man accused of driving the car into the crowd, James Alex Fields Jr., now faces numerous hate crime charges, to which he has pled not guilty.
Mount Zion First African Baptist Church in Charlottesville was packed Sunday morning as attendees waited for Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist, to deliver a guest sermon on the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist Unite the Right rally.
“People around the world need to know that in Charlottesville, racism happened”, Sharpton said.
He urged the congregation, by then numbering close to 250 people, not to give up hope. He also admired a protest led by students and anti-fascist activists Saturday night in which demonstrators marched three miles from University Grounds to Market Street Park in downtown Charlottesville after a rally held near the Rotunda by U.Va. Students United.
“You can turn back the clock, but you can’t turn back time”, he said. “The hope is that young white students joined young black students [at] the University of Virginia, and they marched.”
As the crowd became more enthusiastic, Sharpton spoke on the manner in which activists should conduct themselves, saying, “We cannot be like those we fight”.
“The best way to move forward is to put a clean glass next to the dirty glass”, he said later to reporters. “I hope that we remain strong and passionate, but not violent.”
He did, however, identify Charlottesville’s Confederate Statues of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, located in Market Street Park and Court Square Park, respectively, as instigators for protests and tensions in the city. Sharpton added that the statues were part of the reason he came to Charlottesville for the anniversary weekend.
“The scene of the crime is here, the statues are still here,” Sharpton said. “We must take down the statues, we much take down hate.”
The Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the statue of Lee in February 2017 and the Jackson statue in September of that year in the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally. Currently, the City is still in the midst of legal battle over whether state law prohibits it from removing the statue.
Also in attendance was Charlottesville City Councillor Wes Bellamy, who spoke with the press after the service.
Bellamy said he acted as a liaison between law enforcement personnel in riot gear and demonstrators Saturday night during the rally and subsequent march to avoid conflict between the two groups.
“[I wanted to] make sure that everyone understood tensions were raised,” Bellamy said.
He spoke about the conditions in the City during the weekend, telling reporters that it has “chosen safety over convenience,” and that he “may not agree with all of the tactics, but I understand.”
The increased level of law enforcement personnel and implementation of security restrictions in anticipation of potential demonstrations during the anniversary weekend has been a point of contention in the community.
Both Sharpton and Bellamy echoed a message of unity, saying that the local community must come together to heal.
“Even if people outside may see tragedy … I see a community dealing with the difficulty,” Bellamy said.
Sharpton urged those present during the sermon to continue to work, adding that they cannot discriminate.
“Don’t fight for freedom for you,” he said to the congregation, “Fight for freedom for everyone.”
During Sharpton’s visit to the church, anti-racist activists held demonstrations in nearby downtown after rallying earlier in the morning at Washington Park.
On the one-year anniversary of the deadly white supremacist Unite the Right rally, over 200 anti-racist activists convened in Washington Park Sunday morning as speakers reflected on the tragic events of last year and criticized the heavy law enforcement presence in Charlottesville this weekend.
“What we [saw] on that day, it will never go away,” Charlottesville resident and activist Katrina Turner said of the white supremacist rally last Aug. 12. “I just say that I am so proud of this community for coming together in the time of need and if we just continue to stick together and I love my community.”
Turner was one of several community members who addressed the crowd, speaking into a microphone along the slope of a hill in the park. Each speaker stood above banners which included the statements, “Cville Fights Back” and “Black Lives Matter.”
The rally comes the morning after a nearly three-mile long march led by anti-racist activists, which began at the University, and weaved its way through the streets of Charlottesville until demonstrators reached the barricades of Market Street Park in downtown which was heavily guarded by law enforcement personnel in riot gear.
The march downtown was led by demonstrators who broke away from a UVA Students United rally protesting white supremacy, the University and the law enforcement response to the one-year anniversary weekend.
According to officials, no arrests were made during the march, and it was largely allowed to proceed under police protection.
Courtney Commander, a survivor of last year’s car attack at the Unite the Right rally, focused on the legacy of her friend, Heather Heyer, who was killed when a vehicle plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters near the Downtown Mall on Aug. 12, 2017.
“We don’t all have to die doing this work and standing up but we do all have to stand up, show up and fight for justice and dismantle the system that continues to oppress us,” Commander said.
Don Gathers, a member of the Charlottesville Police Civilian Review Board and a local Black Lives Matter activist, sympathized with the demonstrators who marched downtown yesterday.
“God bless the students from yesterday,” Gathers said. “That was an incredibly awesome sight, and we were just there to support them as they went about taking back their space and not allowing white supremacy to win.”
Don Gathers, also a member of the Cville Police Civilian Review Board and former chair of the City's Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces, speaks at the Washington Park rally. pic.twitter.com/FH57TsCSiZ— Geremia Di Maro (@DiMaroCDNews) August 12, 2018
Don Gathers, also a member of the Cville Police Civilian Review Board and former chair of the City's Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces, speaks at the Washington Park rally. pic.twitter.com/FH57TsCSiZ
A.D. Carson, assistant professor of Hip-Hop and the Global South at U.Va., recited a poem to the crowd on his experience as a black man in America and how police treat minority communities.
“Hands up, stand up and they shooting you down,” Carson said. “So keep your eyes on your mirror when you cruise through your town. I’m from where the boys in blue don't play, cough up a lung where I’m from, U.S.A.”
A.D. Carson, assistant professor of Hip-Hop and the Global South, raps to the crowd about race and the police. pic.twitter.com/ajWFN1YySc— Ben Tobin (@TobinBen) August 12, 2018
A.D. Carson, assistant professor of Hip-Hop and the Global South, raps to the crowd about race and the police. pic.twitter.com/ajWFN1YySc
Law enforcement at Sunday’s gathering in Washington Park was limited, and the rally was allowed to continue as planned despite the event not having received a permit from the City.
In a text message to a rally organizer, Interim City Manager Mike Murphy said the City asked the organizers, identified as Showing Up for Racial Justice, to submit a permit application for the event Friday which the City received. However, the City did not have time to review the application due to the public safety resources focused on downtown and the permit was neither approved nor denied.
There was no apparent police presence directly at the rally Sunday morning, except for at least one police car parked across the street.
At the end of the rally, an activist invited survivors from last summer’s rallies to march downtown and stand on Heather Heyer Way. Many activists proceeded to walk downtown. As of press time activists began crowding the streets downtown and the City announced a road closure for Water Street.
As hundreds of protesters broke away from the U.Va. Students United protest around 8 p.m. Saturday at Lambeth Field, police officers cleared the streets as people marched to the Downtown Mall and occasionally physically engaged with demonstrators, though police officials reported no arrests. The evening’s rally criticized white supremacists, the University and the increased police presence in Charlottesville for the one-year anniversary of the violent white supremacist Unite the Right rally.
The protest initially began north of the Rotunda, but then moved to Brooks Hall and over to Lambeth Field. As Students United declared an end to the event, a large group of protesters marched towards the Downtown Mall.
They moved towards Market Street Park, which features prominently a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — a stated motivation for last year’s Unite the Right rally and a sticking point for anti-racist activists. Chanting “take that f—ing statue down,” marchers approached and retreated from the park, which was then occupied with police officers in riot gear.
Charlottesville City Council voted last February to remove the statues, but pending litigation — with a dispute over whether the statues are protected by state law — has stopped the process.
"What goes up, must come down, tear those fucking statues down" marchers chant as they approach the Charlottesville Downtown Mall pic.twitter.com/UvKPURqrIi— Tim Dodson (@Tim_Dodson) August 12, 2018
"What goes up, must come down, tear those fucking statues down" marchers chant as they approach the Charlottesville Downtown Mall pic.twitter.com/UvKPURqrIi
Around 9:30 p.m., protesters dispersed, chanting they will return at 9 a.m. on Sunday for another planned demonstration, entitled the “Still Defending Cville” rally.
While access to the Downtown Mall was restricted over the weekend — the anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally last August — the barriers surrounding the mall were removed when demonstrators marched to the mall. Over the weekend, entry to the mall has been restricted to two access points, where visitors and their bags have been searched for restricted items.
Charlottesville City Hall tweeted Saturday night that the access points would resume on Sunday morning. Police officials declined to comment on who made the decision to remove the barriers and why they were removed.
During the march, Daily Progress reporter Allison Wrabel noted two tussles between police and protesters. The first, Wrabel tweeted, was on Water Street, where an officer and a demonstrator are seen wrestling on the ground.
Crowd size and scuffle on Water Street with Police no idea what happened pic.twitter.com/JqiSOw3B5F— Allison Wrabel (@craftypanda) August 12, 2018
Crowd size and scuffle on Water Street with Police no idea what happened pic.twitter.com/JqiSOw3B5F
The second, tweeted by Wrabel, shows a demonstrator pushing past police officers. A person who appears to be another officer subsequently throws her to the ground shortly after.
More running. Not sure where the cops are going. pic.twitter.com/i79Zb8fp9f— Allison Wrabel (@craftypanda) August 12, 2018
More running. Not sure where the cops are going. pic.twitter.com/i79Zb8fp9f
Some protesters will return for the “Still Defending Cville” rally Sunday morning in Booker T. Washington Park, which is approximately one mile from Market Street Park.