Individuals, Events, and Ideas Change Over Time
It’s amazing how such a negative reaction can produce a positive outcome. After the 1989 Greekfest riots, city leaders of Virginia Beach saw that a change was in order as reported below by the Virginian-Pilot, (2009):
Twenty years after the worst outbreak of violence in Virginia Beach's history, city leaders see Greekfest 1989 as a turning point, even as a blessing. The community was forced to take a hard look at itself. Business and civic leaders, residents and college students were forced to listen to each other, to take stock of the Beach's strengths and its weaknesses, both social and economic, and to figure out how best to deal with it all.
Virginia Beach is a much different place as a result. It's in the midst of transforming itself from a sleepy summer resort to a thriving destination with cultural centers and ambitious, detailed plans for growth. It has a more professional police force trained in cultural diversity and conflict resolution. It has hired employees that better reflect the diversity of the community and has instituted processes to handle complaints from citizens. The city has systematically reached out to civic leagues and other groups and sought advice on how to quell lingering perceptions that blacks aren't welcome at the Oceanfront.
After Greekfest 1989, a committee expertly led by Norfolk State University President Harrison Wilson and Beach developer Andy Fine mapped out changes the city needed in order to rebuild its reputation and remake the resort. Their instructions provide a map not just of how far Virginia Beach has come in the past two decades, but a way for orderly progress in the future.
In retrospect, I can say that the 1989 Greekfest riots, as violent as they were, was a good thing because it forced necessary change from the city of Virginia Beach to get it’s head out of the sand on racial and socioeconomic issues and do something about it. They had hid from their responsibility of racial equality long enough and now they no longer could because the world had seen what they had been hiding through a violent clash with a group of powerless students who provoked change the only way they knew how.
(Greekfest 1989 Wavy.com, 2009)
- How It Started
- How Could The 1989 Greekfest Riots Been Avoided?
- Social and Economic Implications
- What Is Civic Responsibility?
- Responsible Course of Action
- A Change For The Better
- People Who Made A Difference
- Conclusion and Reflection
- In The Classroom