Returning to Emancipation Park and renewing our commitment to building community
In recent weeks, the eyes of the nation have been fixed upon the violent events in Charlottesville. A focal point of that gaze has been Emancipation Park. On September 22 and September 23, Tom Tom is returning to this park that has been a stage for many of our events. It has been a venue for the community to come together, a home to concerts and block parties, art installations, awards for creativity and entrepreneurship, and a convening point for hundreds of the region’s most innovative businesses and organizations.
Tomtoberfest is scheduled to be the first city-wide event held in the park since the August 12th demonstration. We recognize this as a tremendous responsibility. The events of the past weeks and months have been some of the most trying times in Charlottesville’s history, marked by bigotry and hate. These events do not and will not define our City.
Tomtoberfest is an opportunity to stand for positivity, love, and community, and to reaffirm this city as a home to passionate thinkers, creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators who seek to create a better future for all members of our society.
We feel a renewed commitment to creating places where community can grow and discourse can flourish. With the block party, we look to music and art to bring us together and celebrate the caring, diverse city we know Charlottesville to be. This year’s stage will feature a father and son reggae band from Brooklyn, two DC funk acts, an Australian blues guitarist, and Virginia-grown bluegrass. We want to bring joy back to the park.
This fall we are also adding a new program, which has added resonance in the wake of this summer’s events. At the Fall Forum, hundreds of emerging leaders from across the Commonwealth will share their insights on the Future Virginia and how to build stronger, more prosperous, more beautiful and more equitable communities.
Perhaps most importantly, in Emancipation Park, we will once again honor the contemporary founders who have shaped Charlottesville. The fourth annual Founding Cville project profiles pioneering investors and medical researchers, internationally lauded educators, and leading edge technologists. No single founder could have a more relevant story than Martin Burks, who led a community effort to preserve the Jefferson School, a historically segregated school for African Americans and which was the only public school to stay open during Massive Resistance in 1958. Today the Jefferson School stands as a City Center and home to the African American Heritage Center. We celebrate and honor Martin’s and all the recipients’ contributions to our city.
Finally, we again thank all of those who have stood up for the peaceful and inclusive values of our community this summer, and we honor those who lost their lives. We commit to further healing, renewed progress toward inclusion and equity, and a brighter economic future for all members of the community.
With my best regards,
Paul Beyer, Founder & Director Tom Tom Foundation Tom Tom Founders Festival