Today marks one year since Nov. 13, 2022. We remember this day.
On this same day one year ago, at 10:32 p.m., we received the emergency alert that an active attacker was on Grounds. Run, hide, fight, the alert said, in all capital letters. Is this really happening? At 10:40 p.m., we were instructed to shelter in place. We were stuck in libraries, the gym, classrooms and in our own dorms and apartments. We reached out to family and friends to let them know that we were okay. “Where are you? Are you good? Safe?” In between frantic phone calls with each other and doom scrolling on social media, many of us listened to a local police scanner like a lifeline.
Some of us went to sleep hungry. Others slept little or not at all — how could we, when the attacker was armed and still at large? On the morning of Nov. 14, the University alerted us that the suspected attacker had finally been caught. Lines to the dining halls trailed outside the doors.
And then we were faced with the heavy weight of all that had happened. Word spread that three of our fellow students had been fatally shot and two others injured. Some of us had known these students personally.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, our community came together to grieve and heal. At a vigil held by student leaders the Monday after the shooting, the candles of hundreds of attendees shone brightly against a bitterly cold November night. A memorial service was held to honor and celebrate the lives and legacies of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry through prayer and reflection. Student organizations compiled mental health resources and opened gathering spaces for their peers. Over 1,800 students turned out for the 31st annual 4th Year 5k, hosted by Peer Health Educators and Club Running, to remember the lives lost and support one another. Hundreds of students painted Beta Bridge and wrote handwritten messages, enshrining the memories of Devin, Lavel and D’Sean and community support for their families in Charlottesville history. We gathered in solidarity for each other and the victims in a powerful reminder of our strength and resilience.
Nov. 13 did not just affect our lives as students on that day — it altered the way we carry ourselves in our everyday lives. Just looking around Grounds, even now, one can find students wearing “U.Va. Strong” t-shirts. Every football game this semester has been played in Devin, Lavel and D’Sean’s memories. And with every touchdown scored, players step into an endzone bearing their numbers — 1, 15 and 41.
Yet, beyond the commemoration, there is the painful and profound realization that senseless violence can happen anywhere at this University. Whether on or off Grounds, we find ourselves wary of our surroundings. The facade of safety we had before that day has long been shattered. Regardless of the way we might have moved forward, each of us have been grieving with and healing from the pain, fear and trauma of that day in our own ways.
There is no one correct answer as to how we should, if at all, attempt to find meaning in the violence that occurred on the night of the 13th. What we can do, however, is remember. Football player Mike Hollins and student Marlee Morgan, along with everyone on that bus who witnessed and survived this violence firsthand, have shown us that their strength in living with the pain of adversity lies in carrying the legacies of their teammates and friends. They have also told us, time and time again, that they are grateful for the solidarity the community has shown them during the perpetual process of healing. On this day especially, we hope that, as a community, we can show solidarity for each other so we may continue to move forward with their memories and legacies in mind.
Today, we have seen the University emulate this solidarity by providing spaces for students to reflect, including an observance at the Chapel to honor their lives. The University has also collected mental health resources to support those of us who continue to cope with grief on this anniversary. We on the Editorial Board, too, have written in hopes that our words may help our readership to pause and remember Devin, Lavel and D’Sean.
Devin, Lavel and D’Sean brought light into the lives they touched. Devin was known by his family as a “dancing machine” — a constant source of joy. Lavel was an older brother and a role model, whose love for his hometown proudly led him to get a tattoo of it. D’Sean lifted his teammates up and was immersed in the world of poetry and music. Let our memories of them, and the strength of Mike and Marlee, be what inspires us to carry ourselves in a new light — a light that emboldens our responsibility to move forward while giving grace to ourselves and others.
The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of the Executive Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, the two Opinion Editors, their Senior Associates and an Opinion Columnist. The board can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.