Darkness blocked the light of decency on Saturday, August 12. Our state with the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” found its affectionate reputation tainted after a large white supremacist rally in Charlottesville shook our values to their core.
This past weekend, the implausible became the unbearable reality. I spent 8 years of my life calling Charlottesville home, but I could never imagine that the same streets I used to stroll would be overcome by the forces of evil. Watching the news coverage was a nightmare with no end in sight. I was petrified and sickened by the hatred and terror that burned in my hometown, just 65 miles away from Richmond.
Proximity, however, is vastly overshadowed by the connections the attack has had on who we are as Freeman Rebels. Douglas S. Freeman High School is one of the most diverse schools in Henrico County, not just in race and ethnicity, but in creeds, characters, and ideas. We are not just a school that tolerates different people, we are a family that fosters the beauty within everyone. We are a family that values diversity, acceptance, love, and compassion for all.
We are not Confederate soldiers, racists, or segregationists, regardless of what our mascot was or what the City of Richmond stood for during the dark eras of the Civil War and Jim Crow. As Rebels, we stand against the wrongs of our city’s past and look to a better future.
In the face of bigotry, it is our duty as Freeman Rebels to stand up. When push comes to shove, we must fight for what makes Freeman the incredible community we cherish every day. We are not powerless. We cannot be silent. We cannot be neutral. We cannot escape this. Regardless of the color of our skin or our political ideologies, we must unite with love in our hearts against the hatred to which others cling. We must appeal to the grace in one another to silence the cowardly cries of division. We cannot allow hatred to become a part of our community. Above all, we must show the world what it truly means to be a Rebel.
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