In the profound sorrow and anger I experienced as the events of this weekend unfolded, I have had difficulty translating the flow of my emotions and thoughts into words to share with the community at large. Though I am new to Piedmont Housing Alliance, it is exceptionally clear that the repugnant values and despicable acts of violence exhibited by the white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville this weekend run counter to the very heart of our work.
I know the hate is not new. For all the aspirations of the American claim to liberty, our country is fragmented by the centuries of individual race prejudice incorporated into deliberate structures of cultural and institutional power. What is new – or perhaps re-newed – is that we have seemingly entered an era where hate is brazenly striving to carve a place of legitimacy at the table of American discourse. I, wholly and entirely, reject the unveiled hypocrisy and the ugly virulence of this distorted claim.
We need hope in the cold light of tragedy. We must reveal acts of compassion in the ragged face of hostility. Throughout this weekend, I found myself seeking the wisdom and solace of mission. When I revisited the core principles of Piedmont Housing Alliance, the stated mission, I was inspired by the integrity of our work. The creation of home and community. The building of opportunity and respect. We pursue the work we do because we believe these values honor our collective human lives, bridging between aspiration and justice. This mission in front of us, this work – particularly at Friendship Court – is vital not only to the families and individuals we serve, but it is vital to us all. With a vision of shared power and a celebration of our common differences, this work will continue. This work will call us forth with hope and compassion.
On behalf of myself, the Board of Directors and the staff of Piedmont Housing Alliance, to all those injured and traumatized by the weekend’s tragedies, especially the family and friends of Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, we offer our deepest condolences. For those who stand in defiance of racism and hate, we honor your courage and your passion. You can count on us at Piedmont Housing Alliance to persevere in our work building respect and creating community where we all hold each other up.
Peace to all.
Sunshine Mathon, Chief Executive Officer
Piedmont Housing Alliance