students in lounge
votives and flowers in stadium memorial area

I want to start by sending love and comfort to the families of Devin Chandler, Lavel “Tyler” Davis, Jr., and D’Sean Perry.
Not too long ago, I lost my cousin, my closest friend, and as I grieved, someone dear to me said, “What a heartbreaking joy it is to love someone so deeply.” That will always stick with me and is a great reminder that grief itself is a form of love.
I pray the lives of these three young men are remembered for how much they inspired and loved their friends, families, and the UVA community.
To the faculty, students and staff here at UVA, I invite you to lean into your feelings of loss and grief, for however long you need. The culture we live in often rushes us back to “normalcy” in times of distress, but nothing “normal” comes from rushing grief or running from pain. Our breaking hearts need time and space to heal.
We are a resilient University community, proud of working hard and playing harder – and strong enough to face the pain of this moment without pride, without pushing ourselves. It is so important to simply be with each other right now.
In her book All About Love, bell hooks writes “Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.” Let’s take care of ourselves together, the way Lavel “Tyler” Davis, Jr.  took care of us:
“When I leave here, I just want to say, I was a part of the change, and I took a step forward, changing everything in the right direction. Whatever I can do, even if it’s a small percentage to bring awareness to all the injustice our school has been though, just to shine a light on it and change it in the right direction. It’s a blessing to be a part of it. Because I know these four years are going to go by quick. I for sure want to say I took a step forward for UVA.”