• Statement from the CCPJ Board

Sorrow & hope show the way forward

CCPJ ANNUAL COMMUNITY GATHERING GOES ONLINE TO LEARN LESSONS OF THE PAST AND FORGE PLANS FOR PROGRESS. ZOOM WITH US ON JAN. 27, WED., FROM 7 TO 8:30 P.M.


Each year, going back decades, the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice has held a Community Gathering where activists from a wide range of organizations meet for a potluck supper, sharing ideas with many other activists, and talking about their mission. COVID-19 forced us to postpone the June 2020 Gathering until January 27, 2021, and to adapt to a Zoom format. Here are the themes we will explore at our virtual gathering next Wednesday evening.


We come together at a time when grief and sorrow weigh heavily on millions of people in our nation and tens of millions around the world. Sorrow comes from the loss of loved ones killed by COVID-19, racism, storms, or fires; from the loss of jobs, businesses, homes; from the loss of confidence in the future. (In recognition and respect for this grief, we will pause during our conference for a moment of silence.)


Hope also comes to us at this time. Like people emerging from the fetid air of a sealed room, we breathe in the fresh air of hope. People are being vaccinated in growing numbers. A new administration has begun. We can see better days coming, but we also see the wreckage left behind and the dangers still ahead.


The dualities of the past twelve months, and years before, teach us stark lessons about crises, the need for reality-based change, and the actual change that happens. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is real. We see the numbers every night as newscasters tell us how many new cases, how many deaths, and the positivity rate for our area. But, a significant number of people deny that reality. Accepting this reality, people like us have radically changed basic behavior. We wear masks, maintain a safe distance from each other, we are meeting via Zoom. Again, a few people fiercely resist any change. There is a lesson here about human adaptability. Most people will change, if they see the danger as real and the change as effective, but not all.


We are activists, who recognize in several areas real crises that demand change. Those crises have not waited while we shelter in place and only venture out masked and socially distant. Time did not stop. Now, from the lessons we are learning, how can we turn the real needs of those crises into actual changes? At CCPJ we do not have the answers, but we have three questions for us all to explore with other activists in our larger breakout groups. In those discussions we will begin to learn some answers. Here are the questions:


1. What are your organization’s goals and how do you measure progress toward those goals?

2. As we are learning from the pandemic, we need enough broad public support for the changes we seek to actually work. How will you build consensus to support your efforts?

3. The crises that our organizations work to address are interconnected. Our goals are mutual. How can we help each other advance toward those goals?


We are living in a vast social experiment with lessons all around us. Our fate depends on what we learn.


FOR INFORMATION ON JOINING OUR ZOOM CONFERENCE, PLEASE EMAIL US VIA THE LINK ON OUR "CONTACT" PAGE.