Heather Hightower graduated from Staples High School in 1999, and the University of Virginia 4 years later. She’s still in Charlottesville, where she’s the founder and owner of The Center for Vocal Study (and choir director at Field School).
In the aftermath of that city’s domestic terrorism incident — as the world tries to figure out what to make of her adopted hometown — she emailed “06880.” Heather says:
The Charlottesville I know is full of caring, good, hardworking people who actively seek to improve the lives of others.
The Charlottesville I know cares about its children, its small business owners, its food sources, its historical mark on this nation.
The Charlottesville I know is full of people who take the time to read about the issues and who then give careful consideration to how to best support the highest good.
The Charlottesville I know had people attending lectures on historical roots of racism, prayer vigils and other peaceful forms of activism the nights and weeks leading into this past weekend’s events.
The Charlottesville I know is committed to the values our nation holds dear, including diversity and freedom of speech.
The Charlottesville I know has the strength and presence of mind in its residents and leaders to tackle major issues and work towards resolution. We have faced some difficult issues in the past few years that have sparked national conversation. The events of this weekend, amplified by participants from out of town, do not represent the heart of Charlottesville. This city is strong, thoughtful, kind and cares about its neighbors and where we are going as a community.
The Charlottesville that will prevail is one powered by good. We have a marvelous opportunity to demonstrate how to lead in a time of crisis. It begins with how we conduct these conversations and how we rise to keep working towards change that builds community. Our community is listening, it is acting, and our artists are shining brightly.