The events that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend were disturbing, infuriating and ultimately, heartbreaking.
As hatred and violence erupted 70 miles away from Richmond, let me tell you about an evening filled with unity, respect and love.
Having moved to Highland Park a few months ago, my fiancé and I planned our housewarming party on Saturday night. This happened to be the same time that our neighbor was planning a pig roast for his wife’s birthday. The week beforehand, we chatted with our neighbor about the upcoming parties and offered to help one another out.
The events that took place on Saturday in Charlottesville caused a shockwave across the country. A wave of sorrow and outrage weighed heavy on my shoulders all day long. How could this happen? How can this hatred still exist? How can I help let love prevail over such hatred?
Saturday night came, we set up for our party and our guests began to arrive at the same time as our neighbor’s guests. Both parties took place in our backyards, separated by a chain-linked fence. As people began to fill in, there was an obvious difference: our side of the fence was predominantly white, while our neighbor’s side was predominantly African American.
Within 10 or 15 minutes, food and beer began to be passed over the fence from one side to the other “Here try some of this pig!” “Sure, let me grab you a beer!” “Check out those dance moves!” Another 10 or 15 minutes later, both parties decided to join as one; chain-linked fences be damned.
We spent the evening dancing, laughing, sharing food and a sense of communal love and respect with one another. We welcomed strangers into each others yards, kitchens and arms.
In a world that can be so awful, so absolutely filled with hatred, focus on what YOU can do to make it a little bit better. Love your fellow humans. Show them the same respect and compassion you would wish to receive. Uplift one another. Lend a helping hand. Give without expecting anything in return. And love. Always love. For the light of love, even in the darkest of hours, can help bring humanity out into the sun once again.