The mother of Heather Heyer received a standing ovation this week while delivering a powerful eulogy for her daughter.
Heather was a 32-year-old paralegal who was killed Saturday after a man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors during the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Friends, family, and complete strangers gathered at a memorial service Wednesday to honor Heather’s life and her efforts to fight against hate. Though her daughter is no longer alive, Susan Bro told mourners Heather would not be silenced.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up,” Susan said at the 2:35 mark. “Well, guess what? You just magnified her.”
The mother continued by calling people to action: “This is just the beginning of Heather's legacy. This is not the end of Heather's legacy,” she said (3:29). “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 and want to turn away? ‘I don't want to get involved.’ ‘They'll be annoyed with me.’ ‘My boss might think less of me.’ I don't care. You point a finger at yourself like Heather would have done, and you make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world.”
Heather’s father, Mark Heyer, echoed Susan’s sentiment during the memorial. He spoke proudly about his daughter’s courage and asked others to follow her lead.
“She loved people, she wanted equality,” he said (2:19). “And in this issue, on 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. I think that’s what the Lord would want us to do is to stop—just love one another.”
The New York Daily News reports about 1,600 people attended the memorial service at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Tim Kaine were among those in attendance.
James Fields, the 20-year-old who is accused of plowing his car through the crowd Saturday, has been charged with second-degree murder.