Wes Bellamy, Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, Va., is not going to sit and do nothing like other mayors or vice mayors in this country.
As the racial divide that has always existed in America turns from a deep fissure to a gaping chasm (which side will you choose?), the city of Charlottesville, Va., remains at the center of that divide’s latest incarnation, especially after a woman lost her life at the hands of rabid white supremacists last week.
After Heather Heyer’s tragic death Saturday, the bucolic college town will heretofore live in racial infamy, known by one name only, like “Ferguson” or “Charleston.”
Although Bellamy—the youngest person to ever be elected to the Charlottesville City Council, and its only African American—has been the subject of death threats and called “nigger” more times than a few, he maintains that the events of last week were not just about an effigy of a dead Confederate.
When I spoke with Bellamy via phone this week, he interrupted the call no fewer than five or six times to speak to young adults—“You ready for school, man?”; “Put a shirt on, with your chicken chest”; “What’s up, brother? How are you doing?”; and elders—“Yes, Mama B, I’m fine.”
He is indeed a man of the community and was out among the people all three days of last weekend, despite the death threats he receives on a regular basis. Bellamy concedes that his wife and mother and aunties are concerned for his safety, but he says he will not be cowed.