Four years ago, when I first moved to Charlottesville, I would walk through the campus of the University of Virginia familiarizing myself with my new hometown. Those journeys exploring would be where I would start or end my day, for over three years. Each visit to The Lawn a reminder of the diverse, curious and collegial community that is at the heart of Charlottesville.

There are no words to describe the bewilderment of last week’s events. In a time where holiday festivities are beginning and we are wishing one another a celebratory time of joy, all I can truly think about are the families of these young men whose lives were lost in the Virginia campus tragedy and the acute loss they are feeling.

Our group of dedicated UVa interns have been the backbone of Gillian Valentine. Every day they remind me that the future is bright. This is a generation that speaks with conviction, embraces differences and seeks meaning, answers and results.  

Over the course of the last week, in the midst of trial and tribulation, the UVa student body has come together transcending this horrific day. The picture above from a vigil at UVa last Tuesday night, says everything about this community.

My hope for all of us as we wrap up 2022 and embark on a new year is that this will be a season of peace. 

XO, 
JILL

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