Mrs. Meyer must have raised one fine daughter to go and bravely stand against the racist/terrorist that would run her down on the streets of Virginia.
May God Bless her soul and lift up her family in their time of need and grief.
Mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer: 'They tried to kill my child to shut her up'
Susan Bro, the mother of murdered anti-fascist protester Heather Heyer, struck a defiant note at an emotional memorial service in front of 1,200 mourners
Wednesday 16 August 2017 14.25 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 16 August 2017 14.30 EDT
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up,” said Susan Bro, dwarfed by the large stage and cinema screen at the Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville. “But guess what? You just magnified her.”
The 1,200 mourners in the room rose to their feet and applauded as the mood ebbed between somber reflection, defiance, and a celebration of 32-year-old Heather Heyer’s life.
“I’d rather have my child,” Bro, Heyer’s mother, continued. “But by golly, if I’ve got give her up, we’re going to make it count.” She urged the crowd, so large it had spilled on to the street outside, to honour the memory of her daughter by channeling “anger into righteous action”.
“I want this to spread, I don’t want this to die. This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy. This is not the end of her legacy.”
Heyer, who worked as paralegal at local law firm, was killed a few dozen metres from the old theatre in a terror attack allegedly perpetrated by white nationalist James Fields. The 20-year-old rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-fascist protests on Saturday afternoon, sending bodies flying into the air and wounding 19 other people.
Heyer’s murder came on a weekend of violence as hundreds of neo-Nazis and white nationalists descended on Charlottesville, a small, liberal city in central Virginia, ostensibly to protest against the city’s attempt to remove a monument to confederate general Robert E Lee in a public park.
Relics of the city’s racist past are not hard to find. The Paramount Theater was constructed in 1931 during an era of legalized racial segregation. Black and white people had used separate entrances, and sat in separate sections of the cinema to watch the same movies until the abolition of Jim Crow.
I want this to spread, I don’t want this to die. This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy
But before the assembled mourners on Wednesday, the city sought to share a message of diversity and inclusivity embodied through Heyer’s life.
The Rev Harold Bare of the local Covenant church where Heyer had worshipped, told the service he had been asked by Bro to “speak about diversity”.
He said that 36 years ago, when he first arrived at the church, “our congregation was a modest size of one colour, totally,” but it now welcomed those from all communities in the city.
“All humanity is family created by God,” Bare said.
Mark Heyer, Heather’s father, held back tears as he told the service he was “overwhelmed by the rainbow of colors in this room.
“That’s how Heather was. It didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, if she loved you, you were stuck.”
Her grandfather, Elwood Shrader, said: “In our family, all lives matter. She absorbed that quite well.”
There had been concerns that the service would be been targeted by the far right, after posting to the extremist website the Daily Stormer showed posters encouraging members to “get people on the ground”.
But, under heavy security, with dozens of local and state police patrolling inside and outside the building, the service passed with little incident.
Outside, the Virginia senator Tim Kaine and the state’s governor Terry McAuliffe, both Democrats, were briefly heckled by a small group calling for the removal of the Lee statue.
“No parent should ever have to go through losing a child,” McAuliffe said. “Now is time for healing, it is time for reconciliation. We need to go forward, we need to put the hatred behind us, the bigotry. We need to come together, as Heather’s mother spoke about.”
Heyer’s boss, Larry Miller, said she was like a family member to him. “She’s very compassionate, she’s very precise, got a big heart,” he said. “She wants to make sure that things are right. She cares about the people that we take care of.”
Shortly before the service began, Donald Trump, addressed Heyer’s death on Twitter, describing her as a “truly special young woman”.
“She will be long remembered by all!” Trump tweeted.
The president, who conceded he had not contacted Heyer’s family since her death, remains under fire after a chaotic press conference on Tuesday in which he defended far-right protesters from the weekend. Trump said: “You had people that were very fine people on both sides”.
The service drew to a close after an a cappella rendition of Amazing Grace, with a photo of Heyer filling the cinema screen, surrounded by pink roses.
Also killed on Saturday were two Virginia state troopers, who were aboard a helicopter that was providing video of the event before it broke off to lend support to a motorcade for 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 Friday and a funeral for Lt H Jay Cullen, the helicopter’s pilot, is scheduled for Saturday.