For decades, students in collared shirts and plaid skirts have strolled across St. Anne’s-Belfield’s well-manicured lawns. But even this historic bastion of prep has felt the effects of our transformative moment, at least in a small way.
After the murder of George Floyd, a group of STAB alumni, led by Sophia Hunt, created a petition with a list of demands for the administration, including publicly condemning racial violence, acknowledging the presence of racism in the community, hiring a full-time global diversity and inclusion officer, and diversifying the faculty, board of trustees, and student body.
Meanwhile, students have begun calling for change on the Instagram page @blackatstab. On the account, Black alumni and students have anonymously shared their experiences, including microaggressions from teachers and uses of racial slurs by other students.
When asked for a statement, STAB did not address the Instagram page, instead directing C-VILLE to an email in which the school says it’s “launching a series of dialogues within our entire community.”
STAB declined to release a detailed breakdown of its student body’s demographics, only sharing the statistic from its website that 32 percent of students are “of traditionally under-represented groups.” Elsewhere in town, The Covenant School’s student body is 87 percent white, and Tandem Friends School is 78 percent white. The city public school district is 42 percent white.
(The phenomenon isn’t unique to Charlottesville: Nationally, 69 percent of private school students are white, though just 51 percent of the country’s school-aged population is white, according to research from the University of California Los Angeles.)
Piper Holden, one of the STAB alums who started the petition, says she felt like the message was received. “But obviously this isn’t over,” she says. “I’m really hoping to see those changes. But we’re going to have to wait and see.” — Claudia Gohn
Quote of the week
“November Cook Political rating: Lean R. But if
you’re looking for an upset, this is one to watch.”
—Election forecaster Dave Wasserman, on the race for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District
People have been launching fireworks around town for weeks—and it’s not just happening in Charlottesville. In New York City, the fireworks have been so prevalent that conspiracy theories have started circulating about their origins. If you haven’t had your fill of fireworks, the city’s annual Fourth of July show hasn’t been canceled. But instead of gathering in McIntire Park, you’re advised to stay socially distant and look toward Carter Mountain, where the show will go on, beginning at 9:15pm on Saturday.
Webb wins big
In case you haven’t heard, UVA doctor B. Cameron Webb picked up a landslide victory in last Tuesday’s primary for the Democratic nomination to represent the 5th District in the House of Representatives. If Webb beats Bob Good in November, he’ll be the first Black physician to serve in Congress.
With the pandemic keeping people away from the polls, 49 percent of primary voters in Charlottesville cast absentee ballots last week. (In the March presidential primary, just 7 percent of local votes were absentee.) This election could be a valuable test run for a November contest that might see large numbers of absentee votes—in this election cycle, Virginians requested 118,174 absentee ballots and submitted 87,052 a return rated of 74 percent.
Johnny Reb on the run
Legislation allowing localities to remove or recontextualize Confederate monuments goes into effect today, July 1, and Albemarle County is wasting no time—the Board of Supervisors will discuss the removal of the Johnny Reb statue outside the county courthouse at its meeting this evening. The statue could legally come down as early as September. More hurdles still remain before Charlottesville can begin the same process.