Saturday’s University of Virginia event, “The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal,” has attracted large interest and all 650 tickets have been distributed. But organizers are encouraging people to view the online livestream of the program, which comes one year to the day after white supremacists staged violent protests at UVA and in downtown Charlottesville.
The program begins Saturday at 9 a.m. in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium and can be viewed on the University’s Facebook page. It will feature a moment of silence, save for the tolling of the University Chapel’s bells, plus instrumental and community choral performances and a poetry reading, followed by remarks from UVA President James E. Ryan.
Organizers say the program is an important step in a long journey to address the hate that was visited on UVA and Charlottesville last summer.
“It’s a beginning, not an end,” said co-organizer Michael Suarez, professor of English, director of UVA’s Rare Book School and a Jesuit priest at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlottesville. “A very important word in the program title is ‘reflection.’ I would encourage people, whether they are present at the event itself, or watching it on the livestream, to reflect on what they have seen and heard.”
Suarez said it is incumbent on each community member to ask how they want to be part of a lasting solution and contribute to the evolving community.
The event’s other main organizer, Melody Barnes, is a fellow at UVA’s Miller Center and the School of Law and the recently elected vice chair of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. She said the moment of silence will be an opportunity for everyone, in Charlottesville and around the world, to reflect and remember those who were lost or injured and those who came to their aid in last year’s violence. “We hope that those who are in Old Cabell Hall and those who are within earshot will take that moment to reflect and use that as a moment of discernment.”
The Honorable John Charles Thomas will open the program. He is a “double-’Hoo,” having earned his undergraduate degree in American government with distinction in 1972 and his J.D. from UVA’s School of Law in 1975. Thomas was the first African-American to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Virginia and at the age of 32, the youngest person ever to sit on the court.
Suarez and Barnes said Thomas is the perfect person to open the program Saturday. “He is a highly, highly regarded member of the University community and a trailblazer in his own right,” Barnes said.
Thomas’ focus on issues of justice and fairness and equality embody the values that are “important not only for the day, but for the community as we look forward and do the very challenging, but necessary work of building and strengthening the community across the University and into the city of Charlottesville and the counties that surround it,” Barnes said.
Ryan began his tenure as the University’s ninth president on Aug. 1. Saturday will mark his first major address at UVA.
“This is an important moment,” Suarez said. “Jim has dedicated his whole professional career to questions about access and diversity in public education in America.
“He is a compelling speaker, but much more importantly, he’s a values-driven leader,” he said.
Barnes added, “While it is a very difficult time, for obvious reasons, it is also a way to start out in a very full-throated way, to express his vision for how the University moves forward in partnership with the city and county.”
Important Information about Safety and Security Related to Aug. 10-12 Weekend
The University has been working hard to ensure safety and security this coming weekend. Messages regarding safety and security for the coming weekend can be found here.
Each attendee at “The Hope that Summons Us: A Morning of Reflection and Renewal” must have a ticket issued in his or her name, along with a valid government-issued ID. The tickets are non-transferable and have no cash value.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive and park no later than 8:15 a.m. (parking information can be found lower in this story.)
Entrances to the Lawn will be located near Garrett Hall and the McIntire Amphitheatre (accessible entrance), and next to Rouss Hall. Entry gates will open at 8 a.m.
Access to the Lawn Saturday will be limited to Lawn residents and ticketed attendees of “The Hope that Summons Us” from 6 a.m. until noon.
The University has implemented a clear bag policy and is utilizing metal detectors for this event.
Clear Bag Policy
Bags must be clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and may not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. Small clutches or wallets, approximately the size of a hand and no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches, are permitted. Exceptions will be made for items necessary for medical reasons. Each guest is allowed one clutch or wallet and one clear bag.
Prohibited bags include, but are not limited to: diaper bags, purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, computer bags, camera bags, or any bag larger than the permissible size. Cameras will not be permitted inside Old Cabell Hall.
Security Screening Procedures
Screening procedures will be in use at all entry gates. Walk-through and hand-wand metal detectors will be the primary means of screening. For guests who are unable to utilize a walk-through metal detector for medical reasons, hand-held metal detectors will be used. Any person who does not consent to screening will be denied entry.
The following items are prohibited throughout all University facilities and University property through Aug. 13 at 7 a.m.:
BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles or pistols, paintball guns, nun chucks, tasers, stun guns, heavy gauge metal chains, lengths of lumber or wood, poles, bricks, rocks, metal beverage or food cans or containers (used for any purpose other than consumption of food or drinks), glass bottles, axes, axe handles, hatchets, ice picks, acidic or caustic materials, hazardous or flammable or combustible liquids, skateboards, swords, knives, daggers, razor blades or other sharp items, metal pipes, pepper or bear spray, mace, aerosol sprays, catapults, wrist rockets, bats, sticks, clubs, drones, explosives, fireworks, open fire or open flames, and any other item considered an “implement of riot.”
Items like glass bottles, metal beverage and food containers, and personal toiletries will be allowed as long as they’re being used for their intended purpose.
In addition to the list above, food and beverages are not allowed inside Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.
Complimentary parking is available in the Central Grounds Parking Garage, located below the University Bookstore and next to Memorial Gymnasium on Emmet Street, and in the Emmet/Ivy Parking Garage, located at the intersection of Emmet Street and Ivy Road.