This month, James Fields was tried for murdering Heather Heyer in Charlottesville with his car on August 12, 2017. All week while the jury trial was going on, camera trucks and journalists flooded our city to report on the trial. It reminded me of other recent traumatic events and disturbed me. I uneasily avoided the streets around the court as we all waited for the verdict.
Then last week, James Fields was convicted of murdering Heather. Heather’s mother, Susan Bro, and some of the victims spoke to the judge and jury in court. One described the chance to express what his actions had done to her to his face as cathartic. She felt like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
On Friday, PVCC had their annual “Let There Be Light” show. On the longest darkest night of winter, they release art and light into the darkness. Some of the art installations are encourage participation and are humorous, and kids and adults stomp the ground with their feet to keep them from going numb with the cold as they investigate each one.
One artist wrote “HEAL” in lights on a hillside and I knew he was referring to all of us. We have suffered as a community since August 11th. And now we all need to take steps to heal ourselves and each other. We won’t forget and we shouldn’t. But we need to live as well, and lift that weight from our shoulders. We need to find light in the darkness and maybe even to learn to laugh again.