Our #Charlottesville: How Charlottesville Tomorrow is covering the fifth anniversary of Unite the Right

A brick wall is pictured covered in chalk messages. In front of the wall, the sidewalk is lined with purple flowers. A purple sign in the middle reads “Heather,” with a heart on top.

People across the country will be talking about Charlottesville this week as we approach the Friday anniversary of Unite the Right. But for those who live here, this day is deeply personal. One of our neighbors was killed that day as the rally moved through the Downtown Mall. Others were critically injured. And countless more carry very real emotional scars.

In honor of our community, this week Charlottesville Tomorrow will be running a series of reports and stories about the 2017 “summer of hate” five years later. We will publish stories every day this week, leading up to the Friday anniversary of the Aug. 12, 2017 Unite the Right rally. Our coverage will not feature violence. Rather, it will explore the wounds that summer left, the ways it pushed us to change, and the changes we still need to make.

Two men and a woman are pictured side by side in a black and white collage.
From left to right, Melvin Grady, Myra Anderson and William Scott are pictured. They are among the Charlottesville Black residents who spoke openly about how Unite the Right changed the city — and how it didn’t.

Our stories will include a look at how the deadly rally changed race relations within the city. We’ll share the first-person perspective of a local pastor who helped run communications between faith leaders and counterprotesters  — and found new ways to fight for civil rights in the process. One report explores the emergence of a Police Civilian Oversight Board. Another brings us up to date on the still contested fate of Charlottesville’s statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. We will conclude by sharing never before seen images from that day, taken by local photographer Ézé Amos. Amos will display these and other images on the Downtown Mall on Thursday and Friday.

For those of you who need to step away from the news this week, we understand. And we stand with you. If you are following the anniversary coverage, and want to offer feedback or ideas, we’d love to hear from you.