Community coalition starts talk on healing after weekend violence

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- GOV360's Unity Coalition is trying to bring people from different backgrounds together to talk about how the city needs to heal after the Aug. 12 rally.

"Nothing that led up to what happened Saturday was worth what ended up happening, which was the loss of life," GOV360 Executive Director Lawrence Gaughan said.

The word on many minds in Charlottesville is healing, which is why GOV360's Unity Coalition members find themselves talking about ways to start the healing.

"It's coming together, we've got to, we have to move forward," Gaughan said. "This is such a tragedy of epic proportions for this city, love has to prevail."

The group started only a couple weeks ago with the purpose of opening up dialogue for people in the city. And after the weekend, more people like Phillip Cobb found a place to talk and heal.

"I think we all have a lot of feelings, sort of bottled up inside and it's nice to have someone listen," Cobb said.

In the days after the rally, people have found places to heal with memorials and the candlelight march on the University of Virginia Grounds.

"Unspoken connection that there is between people, you can look in people's eyes, especially at the memorial for Heather and you know that you feel together," Henry McHenry said.

But they say the best way forward is to continue the dialogue and reach out further.

"The most important thing we can do is to connect with opposites, connect with other communities," Gaughan said.

Through that open dialogue, the group hopes to see a more united Charlottesville over time.

"I would hope Charlottesville would become more united between the university, the city, between the different races. I could see the possibility of a lot of coming together," Cobb said.

The group is also talking about starting pop-up talks in different areas of town and inviting people to join them. The coalition meets next Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at CitySpace.



 
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