It’s been a year since a white nationalist rally turned violent in Charlottesville, claiming the life of a 32-year-old woman. Now, her mother is working to carry on her daughter’s legacy by fighting for the issues that mattered to her.
On Aug. 11, 2017, Heather Heyer was killed when police say a white nationalist crashed his vehicle into a group of counter-protesters. The road has since been renamed to Heather Heyer Way, in honor of the activist.
Like Susan Bro's Daughter, Heather Heyer. The only person killed that day.
"I often liken losing a child to amputation,” says Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro. “It's challenging; really challenging. At first, your life is never the same. But you can survive it you can move forward."
Now, Bro is turning her grief into action by fighting for the issues her daughter stood for. The mother established the Heather Heyer Foundation, which gives scholarships to people passionate about social change.
"We are looking for the next Heathers,” she says. “We're trying to support the training and education of the next generation of advocates."
As for how she wants her daughter to be remembered, Bro says “as a normal person who chose to do the right thing.”
"Just look at Heather as an example of what could happen when one person takes a stand,” she says. “Unfortunately, it took a white girl to die before white America and white world bothered pay attention, and that's a pity, because we've had black people and people of color die all over the world for civil rights."
Messages of hope are spray painted and written on the walls near the street named in Heyer’s memory. As Bro reads the messages, she sees qualities she believes could do a lot of good moving forward.
"The messages aren't necessarily about Heather, they're for solidarity, for resistance, for compassion, unity,” says Bro. “There are a lot of different reasons people write on the wall, which is always interesting to see where they're from, what they had to say."
Visit this website for more information about the Heather Heyer Foundation.