Charlottesville mayor says city still healing
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said her community has “absolutely not” healed one year after the violence. Walker told “Face the Nation” that the issues her city faced were “not the rally” or statues depicting figures of the Confederacy but, rather, “deep-seated racism.”
“Oh a year isn’t long enough. We’re talking about issues that have been going on here for centuries,” Walker said.
“That’s the challenge. And that’s a lot of work, and it takes commitment,” she added. “And while people don’t want alt-right white men in khaki pants and polo shirts, you know, walking through town, and they want to make it clear that they don’t identify there, they have been very comfortable with racism and how it plagues the community.”
Outraged by the local response to the violence last August, Walker ran as an independent candidate for city council but ended up becoming the first African-American female mayor of Charlottesville, taking office less than five months after the rally of white nationalists gripped her community.
Walker agreed that the images of a car plowing into a crowd of counter-demonstrators shocked the world because the small, Southern town of Charlottesville, the home to former President Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia, provided a stark contrast to the nation’s underlying racial tensions. In her campaign, she ran on “unmasking the illusion.”
“While it is Thomas Jefferson’s hometown, you’re talking about a president who enslaved people and built his empire off the backs of black people. So that’s the truth that we don’t want to tell, right? You’re talking about world-class university, but who is in that university? Who’s able to walk those grounds versus who built the university? That university was built off of enslaved laborers,” Walker said.