‘Picnic for Peace’ seeks to unite amidst climate of racial tension and hate speech


ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Dozens came together at Waterfront Park Wednesday evening to put politics aside and create a sense of unity with a ‘Picnic for Peace’, which many called a brief reprieve from tension and the hateful rhetoric that has circulated since the violence that took place in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend which killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

For many here, they see this picnic for peace as a step in the right direction.

“You know, I just really wanted to stand up in solidarity with communities of color here in the Alexandria area.”, said picnic goer, Josh Shepherd.

He, along with many others who started out as strangers, came together to break bread and find common ground.

Picnic Organizer, Melissa Stamps said she had no idea that her Facebook post would grow to have such an impact.
She said, “It was just kind of my own personal response to what was happening in the world, what happened in Charlottesville, as someone who experienced a lot of anti-Semitism growing up.”

Kimberly Clarke said she came out to get to know some new faces and to figure out what to do next after the racial clashes that erupted last Saturday in Charlottesville.

“What happened this weekend was kind of a really bad mark on Virginia, so how do we move forward as Virginians after what happened? How do we heal? How do we process? How do we make change that is sustaining?”, said Clarke

Others, like Michelle Tashacor, hope gatherings like this will be a gateway to positive change.

She said, “Maybe little by little we can figure out how to have better conversations and how to really think a little bit more about these issues and make a change.”