The summer and fall of 2017 was a stressful, fearful time for Charlottesville. Following the unimaginable events of May and August, our organization redoubled its efforts to serve our community as we always have done: bringing people together to build new relationships. The United Way gathered a host committee of African-American pastors, leaders of the synagogue and mosque, community leaders, our Board members, and staff. Together, on October 15 we welcomed about 700 people to A Community Table at the Jefferson School City Center.
It feels like an understatement to say that the event exceeded all expectations—not only the robust attendance itself—but, more importantly, the spirit, earnestness, and humanity that pervaded the atmosphere. Participants embraced our simple ask that they meet someone new and share a conversation over a meal.
We believe A Community Table captures the spirit and intention of the United Way itself by giving people in our community the power to come together around a table and build common ground. This is but one community table—and there will be more. Getting to know one another can lead to greater awareness and understanding, build trust and new relationships, and result in a stronger community. And this begins with,”hello.”