Planning on traveling to Charlottesville or the Washington, D.C. area this weekend to protest any commemoration of the first anniversary of last year’s violent and deadly “Unite the Right” rally?
In anticipation of this event, Governor Ralph Northam and the City of Charlottesville declared states of emergency for the Commonwealth and the city to address the potential impacts of events in and around Charlottesville and outside of Washington, D.C., on August 10–12, 2018.
Multiple events are planned to mark the anniversary of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which resulted in the deaths of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and Virginia State Police Troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, III and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.
According to Governor Northam’s statement, these state of emergency declarations will enhance planning and cooperative response efforts that have been in development since March. A state of emergency is an administrative tool that allows state agencies to perform actions outside the scope of normal operations in order to ensure that all necessary resources and assistance are provided as quickly as possible to local governments, and Virginia’s residents.
“Virginia continues to mourn the three Virginians who lost their lives in the course of the demonstrations a year ago. We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully,” said Governor Northam. “I am urging Virginians to make alternative plans to engaging with planned demonstrations of hate, should those arise. Declaring this state of emergency in advance of the anniversary and the related planned events will help us ensure that the state and the city have all available resources to support emergency responders in case they are needed.”
“We have learned many lessons from the tragic events of August 12, 2017. For the anniversary of that difficult August weekend which resulted in three lost lives, the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia are working closely with law enforcement and public safety agencies from around Virginia to plan for potential events and to keep our city safe from violence,” said Charlottesville’s Interim City Manager Mike Murphy. “We join the Commonwealth in declaring a state of emergency in advance of these planned events to ensure all available resources are in place and that we are fully prepared to keep the peace in Charlottesville August 10–12.”
The Commonwealth state of emergency declaration mobilizes and funds state resources from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia National Guard, and other state agencies that will be deployed to Charlottesville and Northern Virginia. It further activates the Virginia Emergency Operations Center to coordinate state resources. Finally, it allocates $2 million to pay for this response and authorizes the Virginia National Guard to assign forces to assist in security efforts.
To learn more about what a state of emergency declaration does and does not do, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/what-we-do/state-of-emergency/.