With the trial of James Alex Fields Jr. set to begin on Monday, the country will be forced to remember the painful memories stemming from the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville that led to the death of Heather Heyer. Fields Jr. has been charged with first-degree murder for driving his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people, including Heyer. Star Peterson, who had her right leg virtually crushed by Fields' vehicle, has undergone five surgeries and still cannot walk on her own, relying on the use of a wheelchair and cane.
Organized by white nationalist Richard Spencer, the rally was conducted in August 2017 in response to the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. As hundreds of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and white nationalists engaged in a heated discourse with counter-protesters, it was Fields Jr., who was known to have a fascination with Nazism and idolized Adolf Hitler while in high school, that allowed his anger to fuel his motivations to drive his car through a group that didn't align with his beliefs.
Spencer hopes that people don't believe that the actions of Fields Jr. represent the white nationalist movement as a whole. "It’s a deeply disturbing incident, and that this one incident could symbolize things that I believe in and things that millions of people believe in, that would be very unfortunate, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case," he said, per AP News. "I'm not making a judgment on the guilt or innocence of James Fields. I’m only demanding that he be given a fair trial."
While Donald Trump essentially defended the white nationalist movement by claiming that "there is blame on both sides," it was Fields Jr. who is solely responsible for taking the life of Heyer and injuring others. Now, it's time for Heyer's family to receive some justice, and Peterson wants to do her part to make that happen. "I feel like it's something I can do for Heather," she said. "I'll be testifying on her behalf."