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Charlottesville Officials Find Community's Emotions Are Still Raw


Charlottesville, Va., is still trying to recover after the deadly white supremacist rally there earlier this month. The city held a town hall yesterday, looking for ways to move forward. NPR's Michele Kelemen was there.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The Department of Justice sent a facilitator to oversee the meeting. And for over three and a half hours, she heard a lot of anger toward authorities. Don Ganthers is a deacon at the First Baptist Church.

DON GANTHERS: With all due respect to you and your colleagues who come to visit us, we don't trust you. We don't trust your boss.


KELEMEN: Nor, he added, your boss's boss. Kelsey Cowger wondered why this administration is cutting funds to counter right-wing extremism.

KELSEY COWGER: I feel like I can't be the only person who's tired of hearing calls for unity and coming together.


COWGER: I believe that the people who were in this room are here in good faith and want that. But on the other side are Nazis and Klansmen.

KELEMEN: Others say they still feel unsafe. And several called for Charlottesville's mayor, Mike Signer, to resign. He brushed off questions about that.

MIKE SIGNER: I was just here to listen. I thought it was incredibly helpful, a huge part of the healing process - just hearing what people had to say.

KELEMEN: There was one heated exchange about Confederate monuments. The city shrouded the Robert E. Lee statue after the violence this month. By Sunday, the cover was off. And the mayor said authorities will be looking into that. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Charlottesville, Va. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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