The mother of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed last weekend, honored her daughter’s memory Wednesday at a memorial service in Charlottesville, Virginia. Heyer was killed when a man rammed a car into a group protesting white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the KKK who had gathered for the Unite the Right rally in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville.
Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother, said Heyer’s life and death were an example of how everyone can fight injustice.
“I think the reason that what happened to Heather has struck a chord is because we know that what she did is achievable. We don’t all have to die,” Bro said. “We don’t all have to sacrifice our lives. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what? You just magnified her.”
Bro also asked that those who want to honor Heyer’s memory do so by emulating Heyer’s activism.
“You need to find in your heart that small spark of accountability. ‘What is there that I can do to make the world a better place? What injustice do I see?’” Bro said. “You poke that finger at yourself like Heather would’ve done. You take that extra step.”
Heyer had a high school education and Bro said Wednesday that her daughter “was no saint.” Raising Heyer was hard, Bro said, because everything was a negotiation, but her mother said she was a firm believer in whatever she believed.
Bro also spoke frankly about the divisive, hateful political atmosphere that hangs over Heyer’s death.
“We’re not going to sit around and shake hands and go ‘Kumbaya,’ and I’m sorry, it’s not all about forgiveness,” Bro said. “I know that’s not a popular trend. But the truth is, we are going to have our differences. We are going to be angry with each other. But let’s channel that anger not into hate, not into violence, not into fear, but let’s channel that difference, that anger into righteous action.”
The man who has been charged with murdering Heyer with his car is reportedly sympathetic to the white nationalist movement. When asked Tuesday evening if he had reached out to Heyer’s family, Trump said he hadn’t done so but planned to. In the wake of Heyer’s death, the president has defended the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Klansmen whom Heyer was protesting.
Heather Heyer IDed as the woman killed in the Charlottesville racist rally incident. Here is her last FB post: pic.twitter.com/BzCY8bg0zi
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 13, 2017
The last Facebook post Heyer made was the quote, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” which Bro echoed Wednesday, calling for “difficult dialogues.”
“That’s the only way we’re going to carry Heather’s spark through. So remember in your heart, if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention, and I want you to pay attention,” Bro said. “Find what’s wrong. Don’t ignore it. Don’t look the other way.”
Bro said that everyone listening should ask themselves, “How can I make a difference?”
“That’s how you’re going to make my child’s death worthwhile,” Heyer’s mother said. “I’d rather have my child, but by golly if I gotta give her up, we’re gonna make it count.”