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Dublin: 14°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

Charlottesville victim's mother: 'This is not the end of Heather's legacy'

Hundreds gathered for a memorial of Heather Heyer, who was killed after a white supremacist rammed a car into protesters.

Susan Bro holds up a photo of her daughter Heather Heyer pictured with Susan's mother.
Susan Bro holds up a photo of her daughter Heather Heyer pictured with Susan's mother.

THE MOTHER OF a woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville urged mourners at a memorial service to “make my daughter’s death worthwhile” by confronting injustice.

Susan Bro said people should channel “anger into righteous action,” stirring applause from the hundreds of people who packed into a downtown theatre wearing the victim’s favourite colour, purple.

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” she said, pointing a defiant finger as her audience gave her a standing ovation.

The white nationalists who had pledged to show up and potentially disrupt services for Heather Heyer were absent from the crowd of clergy people and out-of-town tourists who gathered outside the Paramount Theatre to remember her.

Confederate Monument Protest Mourners and clergy pray outside the memorial service for Heather Heyer. Source: Evan Vucci via PA Images

Heyer was among the hundreds of protesters who had gathered Saturday in Charlottesville to decry what was believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade – including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members.

They descended on the city for a rally prompted by the city’s decision to remove a Confederate monument.

Counter-protesters had converged for a march along a downtown street when suddenly a Dodge Challenger car barreled into them, hurling people into the air.

The Ohio man who police say was driving, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr, was described by a former high school teacher as an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

He was quickly taken into custody and has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

Confederate Monument Protest Mississippi Source: Courtland Wells via PA Images

Heyer’s family members and friends said her death would only inspire them to fight harder for justice.

“This is not the end of Heather’s legacy,” Bro said. “It was just the beginning of Heather’s legacy.”

Bro urged those who wanted to honour her daughter to “find in your heart that small spark of accountability.”

“You poke that finger at yourself like Heather would have done, and you make it happen,” she said.

You take that extra step and you find a way to make a difference in the world.

Confederate Monument Protest Charlottesville A woman leaves a flower where Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others were injured over the weekend. Source: Julia Rendleman via PA Images

Heyer’s grandfather said his 32-year-old granddaughter always wanted fairness, even from a young age.

Elwood Shrader said Heyer showed her passion for equality and swiftly called out something that wasn’t right. He said she wanted respect for everyone and believed “all lives matter”.

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Mark Heyer, her father, said his daughter wanted to “put down hate”.

In a tweet today, President Donald Trump called Heyer “beautiful and incredible” and a “truly special young woman”. He said “she will be long remembered by all!”

Trump told reporters yesterday that he planned to reach out to Heyer’s family. The White House did not respond to questions today about whether Trump has contacted Heyer’s family.

Confederate Monument Protest Susan Bro holds up a photo of her daughter Heather Heyer pictured with Susan's mother. Source: Joshua Replogle via PA Images

Heyer was a Charlottesville resident and legal assistant. She grew up in nearby Greene County and worked as a legal assistant at a law firm. Her boss, Larry Miller, said the young woman was active in the firm’s bankruptcy practice and was like a family member to him.

“She’s very compassionate, she’s very precise, got a big heart,” Miller said. “She wants to make sure that things are right. She cares about the people that we take care of.”

Also killed on Saturday were two Virginia State Police troopers who were aboard a helicopter that was providing video of the event before it broke off to lend support to a motorcade for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The helicopter crashed outside of Charlottesville; an investigation into the crash is ongoing.

A funeral for Trooper-Pilot Berke MM Bates has been set for this Friday and a funeral for Lieutenant H Jay Cullen, the helicopter’s pilot, is scheduled for Saturday.

Read: ‘Violence’ on the alt-left and Irish manufacturing: Key moments from Trump’s bizarre press conference

Read: Abraham Lincoln Memorial defaced in Washington DC

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