FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2020
To the Charlottesville Community,
We write to you today as public safety leaders for the City of Charlottesville to express our profound gratitude for the manner in which you, our community, demonstrated your collective outrage this past weekend over the death of George Floyd and for the long and tragic history of violence against black men and women in our community, in our commonwealth, and our nation. We join you in your sadness, in your grief, and in your anger at our own legacy of injustice.
Our objective this weekend, as it is every day, was to provide a safe environment for our community to exercise a fundamental right of all human beings, the right to speak out against injustice; and to speak out without fear of interference from those who would infringe on your rights, in particular from those whose very purpose is to guarantee those rights.
The Charlottesville Police and Fire Departments, along with our many City and community partners, have worked hard in the last several years to develop a truly multi-disciplinary public safety team, one that can provide the services necessary to support a healthy, safe, and resilient community. However, we also recognize that no matter how effective our training, planning, and operations may be, the well-being of our city relies on the commitment of every community member to the safety of our fellow residents, in particular to those who have suffered injustice in its many awful forms.
Many in our community remain traumatized by the events of August 2017. There are many more of you bear the physical and emotional scars collected from centuries of intentional disenfranchisement, scars born of inequity in housing, in education, in unequal treatment in the criminal justice system, and in unacceptable health disparities. Making progress towards a more just and equitable community will require significant structural change to our community. However, none of this will be possible if we are not able to create and sustain a safe environment in which to carry out this important work. Your actions this weekend, and similar actions throughout our community’s history, demonstrate a commitment to progress and real change for this community.
Again, we are grateful for your passion for justice and for your grace as we navigate these troubled waters together.
Dr. RaShall Brackney
Andrew M. Baxter
A video version of this statement can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhpVKedJol0
Public Information Officer
Charlottesville Police Department
Charlottesville Fire Department