On Sunday, August 20th, The Jefferson Theater and a who’s who of Charlottesville musicians, artists and activists hosted Come Together, a concert to benefit the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. The show raised money and awareness for the CACF’s Heal Charlottesville Fund established in the wake of recent terrorist attacks by white supremacist groups earlier this summer.
The fund supports both the immediate needs of those injured in the attacks and longer-term reconciliation efforts. Come Together was specifically organized in remembrance of Heather Heyer, who died tragically during the rally in Charlottesville on August 12th.
After talking to people at the event, you could get a sense that the direct response from musicians and artists around the city was the first real step toward healing.
“Silence really does equal violence. Don’t be scared to talk about these issues with your family, friends and other people you encounter,” said Jay Pun, a local musician and organizer for the event, during a speech. “The movement truly does start with you.”
He also urged those who are looking for ways to help to visit the CACF website and consider donating.
For those who are unsure of how they can help, local singer songwriter Adar shared one example from her experience working in childcare. “For example, there are medics that work long hours and weekends that require childcare in order to continue saving lives.”
Adar urged others to look inward to find what they do best. She explained that in times of tragedy, it can be “chaotic and dangerous” for everyone to be out trying to do new things to help. Sometimes reflecting on what you already share with the world can be more productive.
Erin Lunsford, the soulful voice of Erin and The Wildfire, spoke about how to incite much needed change. She urged everyone to use their power to vote. “Vote for candidates who recognize that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are people who are fighting for rights as non-violent groups.”
The performers rotated on and off stage throughout the night, performing as powerful duets and surprising super groups. The audience was treated to covers of “Amazing Grace,” “Imagine,” “Exodus” and “Come Together.”
Backstage the event felt like a family gathering, working together to heal, support one another and bring about a positive change. Performers mingled with their sons, fathers, mothers and daughters which really solidified a sense of community and belonging even to those who weren’t performing.
The unifying feeling of the night between performers and attendees was a sense of pride in their town and community even in the face of such hardship. This event restored a strength that Charlottesville has long known, a collaborative and family like music community that will always stand together.
For more ways to help, visit the CACF’s Heal Charlottesville Fund.
The event began with a speech from rally survivor Tyler Magill
Michael Croan & Matthew Horn Ferguson performing at The Jefferson Theater
Micah Washington was injured in the attack on August 12th, here she performs with Erin Lunsford.
Atreyu Jackson joined his mother Davina Jackson on stage for the event.
Adar’s stage presence enchants the audience.
Davina Jackson & Erin Lunsford
Jay Pun, local musician and event organizer for Come Together
The talented Jamal Millner
Memorial on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall to Heather Heyer