Letter to Charlottesville Mayor
Dear fellow citizens of Williamsburg,
It is with great reluctance that I or my Council colleagues ever try to speak for others, but in light of recent events in a sister city of the Commonwealth, we felt it appropriate to express our concerns and reaffirm solidarity against the ugliness of hatred and to decry senseless violence on behalf of all Williamsburg. The following is a message sent earlier this evening to the Mayor of Charlottesville. You all may well be reading it before he, especially considering the immense challenges facing that community right now. Please know, that these reprehensible and horrific events could just as easily have occurred here. If you join us in moral recoil, then let us band together to be part of the solution to build bridges instead of fences; to love over hate; to seek peaceful discourse over violence; and to embrace all that is beautiful about the diversity of humanity.
Paul Freiling, Mayor
City of Williamsburg, Virginia
Office of the Mayor
Good evening Mayor Signer:
On behalf of my colleagues on the Williamsburg City Council, Scott Foster, Doug Pons, Barbara Ramsey, and Benny Zhang, and all of Williamsburg, our hearts go out to the victims of today's tragedy and their families. We admire and respect the courage of the people of Charlottesville, who looked hatred in the eye; stared it down; and rejected it with every ounce of their being. Additionally, we have the greatest admiration for the Charlottesville Police, Virginia State Police, Virginia National Guard, and all law enforcement and emergency response personnel who heroically handled incredibly delicate and volatile situations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of so many others, without which today's events most surely would have been unthinkably worse.
Please know that the residents of Williamsburg stand with the Charlottesville community and the entire nation in condemnation of the unspeakable bigotry that led to today's violence and tragedy. As much as we sympathize with you, we understand that we cannot look at this as an isolated incident; rather, it is symptomatic of an insidious infection. Healing one wound will not cure the disease. We need a comprehensive regimen of treatment to defeat it. Otherwise, we will continually deal with relapses until it is eradicated. Even then, it may still lurk in the shadows, under rocks, or deep in the dark souls of those consumed by evil.
If, when the time is right, you would be willing to convene a conversation about confronting this menace head on, I and my colleagues will do everything humanly possible to support that effort. Perhaps this is a conversation we could commence at VML or whenever appropriate.
In the meantime, best wishes to all of Charlottesville as you work through any residual protests and, subsequently, commence the healing process. Godspeed.
Paul T. Freiling
Mayor, City of Williamsburg