Aiming to highlight Black-owned businesses, Charlottesville, Virginia, launched Discover Black Cville, a community-led initiative created to support Black stories in the city. The project, launched nationally early this month, was designed by the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB), which is also launching a new digital passport. The intention is to attract tourists and locals to visit Black-owned businesses.

With a QR code and after five check-ins, passport holders will be awarded an official Discover Black Cville hat that can be taken at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

In addition to celebrating this initiative, a new mural was displayed at IX Art Park. Painted by James Johnson and Laura Lee, the same local artists who created the official Discover Black Cville logo. According to CACVB, the mural represents hope for the future and serves as a reminder of the transformative power of inclusive dialogue.

“As an organization, we recognized the need for a more open dialogue, and we have taken great strides to listen and collaborate with our Black residents,”  Courtney Cacatian, Executive Director of the CACVB said in a press release.

For Cacatian, deep discussions about race relations in the city occurred in August 2017, after the event called Unite the Right Rally. Since then, the CACVB decided to work with local Black residents to change the uncomfortable feelings caused by the episode five years ago, which gained international attention.

In 2021, CACVB announced the soft launch of Discover Black Cville, and the impact of this initiative has been significant among all community members.

“Charlottesville is evolving into a place and community that is more hopeful, inclusive and welcoming. We will continue to have community conversations, which will inform the ongoing development of Discover Black Cville,” added Cacatian in a press release.

You can visit Discover Black Cville’s official website here. You can also follow Discover Black Cville’ on its official Facebook and Instagram accounts.