The mother of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, made a heartfelt plea to those at Heather’s memorial service.
"Make my child's death worthwhile," Susan Bro said to the audience.
Heyer's family and friends filled up the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville to say goodbye to the young woman they loved and admired. Heyer was killed Saturday when a driver plowed into her and others protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia.
“She loved people, she wanted equality, and, in this issue of the day of her passing, she wanted to put down hate,” said Heather’s father, Mark Heyer.
Heather's death encouraged people all over the nation to join the fight against racism and call for the removal of confederate monuments.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” Bro said.
Bro encouraged those at the memorial to ask themselves a question. “What can I do to make a difference? And that's how you're going to make my child's death worthwhile,” said Bro.
Political activists in Texas answered that question by honoring Heather's life with a candlelight vigil at the State Capitol. “It’s a time to remember her, her sacrifice. I mean, she was killed by hate, people who hate others because of their religion and whatever, and it's a time for us to send some love into the universe and to Heather,” said one of the vigil organizer’s, Kenneth Hayes.
Heather's death is a stark reminder to Hayes of the days when he protested the Ku Klux Klan in Austin.
“Any one of us could've been Heather,” Hayes said.
Now, even in death, Heyer is encouraging others to stand up for what they believe.
“Sometimes it takes an event like this to shake people out of their indifference and their routine and look around and say, ‘Yeah, we really have a problem here which needs to be addressed,’” said Hayes.
A white nationalist event at Texas A&M has been cancelled following Saturday’s rally. However, the Texas Confederate Militia has planned a Dixie Freedom rally at Wooldridge Square in Austin on September 2.