The staff at WriterHouse founded #TheWrite2Heal in response to the violence and hate that occurred during the Unite the Right Rallies on August 11th and 12th, 2017. These rallies dismantled the stories told about our city, leaving behind a wake of division, fear, and uncertainty.
As a community writing center, we believe in the power of the pen to heal and transform our world. We know this happens one word at a time in settings where writers of all levels have the opportunity to write authentically about their experiences and engage with others. The purpose of #TheWrite2Heal sessions is to help writers understand their thoughts and feelings regarding issues that impact us locally and globally. By bearing witness to our own experiences, we make space to bear witness to and understand the experiences of others.
Our kickoff event took place at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library on September 27, 2017. An intimate group of writers gathered to write about their experiences on August 11th and 12th—some for the very first time.
After the events of 2017, WriterHouse offered a series of free, instructor-led open writing workshops with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.
September 27, 2017 @ The Jefferson Madison Regional Library. Read participant excerpts
In 2019, Charlottesville’s City Council created “Unity Days,” a series of events focused on helping our community come together and heal after the tragic events of August 2017. Events took place during May, June, July and August, with different themes defining the series of events each month. Themes for the month of August included education, solemn remembrance, honor and inspiration.
In alignment with Charlottesville’s Unity Days focus for August, WriterHouse hosted an event to bring the community together to write poems and other short writing forms to commemorate the events of August 12, 2017. The event was held at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library on Friday, August 9, 2019, during lunchtime. The library, along with The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, partnered with us on this initiative and local artist Jum Jirapan created a massive cardinal sculpture for the event.