UVA Pres. Ryan releases statement on anniversary of Aug. 12th
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia President Jim Ryan is sharing his hopes as the community reflects on this sad anniversary.
Ryan released a statement early Thursday, August 11, talking about the difficult memories that this day and Aug. 12 bring up.
“We cannot, and should not, forget those dark days five years ago. My hope is that the memory of those events, including the heroic and compassionate responses of community members, continues to inspire us to work to make the world a better and more welcoming place,” Ryan said in Thursday’s statement.
Read the full statement below:
To the University community,
Five years ago, our University and the city of Charlottesville came under attack from a group of self-proclaimed neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Heather Heyer, a local resident, was killed, and Virginia State Police Lieutenant Pilot H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Pilot Berke M. Bates also lost their lives as they conducted aerial surveillance of the day’s events. Many others were injured in the confrontation, both physically and psychologically.
I know that, for many, the five-year marker of the so-called “Unite the Right” rally brings difficult memories and a sobering reminder that our country is not yet free from bigotry, racism, and intolerance. But I hope that we can also recall the strength, compassion, and resilience of our community and our Charlottesville neighbors. Faculty, staff, students, and community members raised funds for victims, held vigils and remembrances, and hosted conversations that sought to understand why and how those terrible events came to pass. The University also took important steps to make sure our Grounds were safer and more secure, in an effort to help ensure those events would never happen again.
In memory of those who were lost and in honor of those who suffered during the events of August 11 and 12, 2017, we ask you to observe a moment of silence today after the UVA Chapel clock strikes noon. Following that moment of silence, the Chapel bells will ring again in remembrance of this solemn anniversary.
Across Grounds and in the city of Charlottesville, there will be a number of activities dedicated to the events of August 11 and 12, including an art exhibition and a panel discussion hosted by the Karsh Center for Law and Democracy and the UVA Jewish Studies program. You can learn more about those events in this UVA Today piece.
We cannot, and should not, forget those dark days five years ago. My hope is that the memory of those events, including the heroic and compassionate responses of community members, continues to inspire us to work to make the world a better and more welcoming place.
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