Mother of woman killed in Charlottesville: ‘This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy’

At a memorial service today for Heather Heyer, the woman killed Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Heyer’s mother was met with a standing ovation as she said, “They tried to kill my child to shut her up — well, guess what — you just magnified her.”


“Although Heather was a caring, compassionate, person, so are a lot of you,” Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said to those at the memorial service. “A lot of you go that extra mile.”

Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville, had dialogues on Facebook, her mother said, telling the mourners, “Conversations have to happen. That’s the only way we’re going to carry Heather’s spark through.

“Find what’s wrong, don’t ignore it, don’t look the other way,” Bro said. “Say to yourself, ‘What can I do to make a difference?’ And that’s how you’re going to make my child’s death worthwhile.

“I want this to spread, I don’t want this to die,” she said. “This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy.”

Heyer’s memorial was held this morning at Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., were among the over 1,000 attendees.

“You never think you’re going to bury your child,” Bro said at the service, adding that a public memorial is what her daughter would have wanted.

She “had to have the world involved, because that’s my child,” Bro said. “Always has been.”

PHOTO: Cynthia Sullivan of Charlottesville, Va., stands in line for a memorial service for Heather Heyer, who was killed during a white nationalist rally, Aug. 16, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va.Evan Vucci/AP
Cynthia Sullivan of Charlottesville, Va., stands in line for a memorial service for Heather Heyer, who was killed during a white nationalist rally, Aug. 16, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va.

Heyer’s grandfather, Elwood Shrader, said at the service, “She showed her passion at an early age.”

As a child, when Heyer would return home from school, she was animated as she explained her day, Shrader recounted. She would stand at the corner of the dining room table, waving her hands, almost dancing as she went over a story, Shrader said.

Heyer wanted fairness and justice in her early years, he said, and “could call out something that didn’t seem right to her.” And even if she didn’t agree with someone’s viewpoint, she still wanted to understand it, he said.

Heyer, who worked as a paralegal, had that desire for justice throughout her life, Shrader said, adding, “how ironic that she ended up in a law office.”

“She realized we all need forgiveness and we all must extend forgiveness,” he said. “As we think about her today, we’re very proud of her.”

Shrader also expressed his appreciation for the community’s support at this time.

Heyer’s father, Mark Heyer, gave an emotional speech, saying, “No father should have to do this.”

“She wanted equality,” he said, “and in this issue of the day of her passing, she wanted to put down hate. And for my part, we just need to stop all this stuff and just forgive each other.

PHOTO:
SLIDESHOW: White nationalists and counterprotesters clash in Charlottesville

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