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H. Timothy Lovelace Student leader urges looking at racism with critical lens, empathetic heart

By Anne Bromley

With a sister almost 10 years older who went to U.Va., H. Timothy Lovelace became familiar with the University as he grew up. This year, he’s a fourth-year student, Lawn resident and the student representative on the Board of Visitors.

His knowledge and involvement give him a unique perspective on the events that have unfolded since a Student Council candidate, Daisy Lundy, reported a racially motivated assault in the early morning hours of Feb. 26. A friend of Lundy, Lovelace said he has not given up on the University he has grown to know so well, despite that and other recent racially charged incidents. Lovelace will stay at U.Va. as a student in the School of Law this fall.

Although he believes U.Va.’s responses to recent events will improve the diversity climate on the institutional level, he said changing behavior is up to each person.
“Inclusion and mutual respect are moral issues,” Lovelace said.

He has experienced the subtle or not-so-subtle moments where latent racism surfaces, he said — like finding himself the only African American in a discussion and being looked to as a spokesman for his race, like walking alone at night and seeing another lone walker clutch her pocketbook as he approaches.

Because minorities may not be considered part of the mainstream culture and society, being marginalized can cause them to question their own identity. “You think, ‘How do I fit in if I’m not in the norm?’ A student of color always thinks of that. It can lead you to feel powerless.”

Nevertheless, Lovelace has not succumbed to self-doubt, he said. He continues to be involved in University life and said he is grateful for the support he has received from the special friends he has made here and the administrators he has worked with, including some Board of Visitors members.

“I’ve been challenged intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, and it has helped me in trying to become a better person,” he said.

When he spoke before a crowd that filled Newcomb Hall Ballroom the night of Feb. 26, he said, “We are engaged in a meaningful show of support for our sister, Daisy Lundy. But even deeper, we have assembled because we understand that racial hatred and injustice is a moral problem. We understand that hard hearts are our enemy and that our love for humanity and dedication to justice will transcend even the bounds of this great march. We will not be apathetic any longer.”


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