Steering Committee Editorial

The following Letter to the Editor was posted to The Daily Progress on May 24, 2013 from the UCARE Steering Committee. Read it online here.



On May 1, a racial slur painted on Beta Bridge in Charlottesville prompted a quick series of condemnations by a variety of people and organizations at the University of Virginia. Within a day, the news cycle was complete and the story no longer held headlines or the attention of many.

The University and Community Action for Racial Equity, however, has a much longer attention span. Our attention is focused on much more than the hateful graffiti of that marginal citizen. We are determined to continue building a more inclusive community where everyone’s gifts are welcome, everyone’s talents are constructively engaged and no one is demeaned because of his or her identity.

That incident, while seemingly fleeting, and dealt with institutionally as one-time occurrence, is something we have seen repeatedly over the years on and around Grounds. We note that the incident coincided with a forum we held on the declining enrollment of African-American students at UVa. Both trends remind us that the legacy of slavery, discrimination and racism continues to haunt our community.

We urge the university administration and wider community to substantively address the underlying causes of the ongoing problems reflected in the slur and its response. We have laid out our plan for that work in a report that we released just one year ago (Read it here.). We remain committed to the work detailed in that report and invite collaboration with interested parties.

So, unlike the news cycle that may be here today and gone tomorrow, UCARE’s commitment is decidedly for the long haul. That is the way grassroots change and progress are made, and by this letter we invite other concerned citizens and engaged groups to join us in creating a more open and democratic community.

We also welcome individuals and offices within UVa who share our vision and our determination to make our community more inclusive and productive to join us in this work.  There is much to be done.


UCARE Steering Committee



Frank Dukes, Director

Camisha Jones, Project Director

John Alexander

Riana Anderson

Lawrie Balfour

Reverand Lehman Bates

Holly Edwards

Ishraga Eltahir

Bonnie Gordon

Claudrena Harold

Walt Heinecke

Phyllis Leffler

Dion Lewis

Sarah Malpass

Selena Cozart O’Shaughnessy

Leontyne Peck

Regina Pencile

Leah Puryear

Kristin Szakos

UCARE Releases Report on Race Relations at UVa., Receives Grant

Newsplex featured UCARE’s Press Release and release of “A Call for Reflection and Action” with an article and a video. This was in the news on September 24th and started with a summary saying, “A university-community group is addressing the roles slavery and segregation played at the University of Virginia.” In an interview with Walter Heinecke he said, “We have a long way to go in terms of addressing the history of slavery and racism at the University of Virginia and how it impacts us today….That it’s not just a historical issue, but it’s an issue that continues to plague us today until we actually address that history.” Thanks Walt for the insightful quotes!

Report calls for UVa to do more to address past racial disharmony

The Daily Progess wrote an article about UCARE’s release of “Call for Reflection and Action.” The article points out some primary objectives of the report and sites with quote, “More broadly, we really hope the university takes a leadership role,” said by Sarah Malpass. Here is the article.