A public art project that is a part of Charlottesville’s Unity Days was unveiled over the weekend on the side of the Violet Crown theater. A crowd of more than 50 gathered along Second Street Southwest to celebrate Charlottesville’s diverse array of activism and advocacy. Composed of portraits taken by photographers Ézé Amos and Kristen Finn, “Inside Out: This Is What Community Looks Like!”, features various local activists and advocates for racial justice and equity, LGBTQ+ communities, mental health, education, affordable housing and more.

Lisa Draine, the mother of a University of Virginia student who was injured in the Aug. 12, 2017, attack by James Fields Jr., had international inspiration to bring Inside Out to Charlottesville. French photographer JR’s Inside Out Project is a global platform that allows communities to transform untold stories into larger-scale participatory art projects.

“We are just a few blocks from the spot where a terrorist car attack killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens of other anti-racist activists, including my daughter,” Draine said. “This year we want to tell a different story, one that shows what it looks like when a community fights back against the destructive forces of white supremacy, hatred, and systemic racism.”

Below are some photographs from the event.

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    Community Organier Don Gathers stands next to his portrait.

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods Charlottesville Tomorrow

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    Inaugural Civilian Review Board member Katrina Turner takes a picture as the work on the installation is completed.

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods Charlottesville Tomorrow

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    Lisa Draine, who spearheaded the organization of the installation, and Charlene Green of the Office of Human Rights commend those featured in the mural.

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods\ Charlottesville Tomorrow

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    “I think it’s especially necessary in the space of downtown—knowing that downtown is not a very welcoming place for people of color, and representation of black and brown people is very low on the downtown mall," says student activist Zyahna Bryant. "This is part of first steps moving to open the space up and make it more inclusive, and so while this isn’t really cracking at the deeper issues of business ownership downtown or people of color being included in the targeted audience, symbolism is a huge part of how landscapes become marginalizing and exclusive for people of color, so this is a good first step.”

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods Charlottesville Tomorrow

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    "I think it sends a strong message, and that message is that we’re still here, we’re still fighting. We’re still taking a stand, and we were not moved away by what happened. It only made us stronger," says black mental health advocate Myra Anderson [top, center, red shirt]. "We are all up there [activists on the wall] working in different ways but fundamentally for the same thing.”

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods Charlottesville Tomorrow

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    A crowd of more than 50 attend the unveiling of the installation.

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods \ Charlottesville Tomorrow

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    Activist Lisa Woolfork poses by her portion of the mural--wearing the same dress .

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods Charlottesville Tomorrow

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    “I’m happy that we’re doing this right now but sad that it had to take for that [Aug 12, 2017] to happen for us to know we have this much resilience and that we have this much spirit of love and unity in us. It took for that happen for us to go like ‘hey we’ve got to do something.’ But unfortunately it had to be that terrible event that pushed us to do the right thing," says installation photographer Eze Amos. "I’m happy to do that and this is beautiful to see—it’s faces of everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, whatever, everybody’s in there. Everybody’s doing whatever they can to elevate this community.”

    Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods \ Charlottesville Tommorrow