Photos: Charlottesville honors Heather Heyer at memorial service

on Aug17

In an auditorium filled to capacity Wednesday, mourners in Charlottesville, Va., grieved the woman killed last weekend when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally.

Many of those who gathered at the Paramount Theater to remember Heather Heyer wore her favorite color, purple.

With pictures of Heyer projected onto a large screen, friends and family of the 32-year-old paralegal stood on stage and remembered her as an outspoken advocate for racial equality who stood up against injustice.

The speakers also urged others to denounce violence.

Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, gave a passionate seven-minute speech encouraging mourners to use her daughter’s memory to inspire others to fight against hate and said the outpouring of support she had received suggested that many people share the same values her daughter espoused.

“We don’t all have to die, we don’t all have to sacrifice our lives. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what — you just magnified her.”

Bro reminisced about Heyer’s fiery conviction to speak out for what she believed was right. During dinners, Bro recalled, she would have conversations with her daughter about politics and injustices.

“She and I would talk and I would listen and we would negotiate … the girl loved to talk,” Bro said. “You never think you’re going to bury your child … they asked me for pictures for this and I struggled.”

She added that if people were “not outraged” by her daughter’s death, then they weren’t “paying attention.” She asked people not to “look the other way.”

“You make it a point to look at it and say to yourself, ‘What can I do and make a difference?’ and that’s how you’re going to make my child’s death worthwhile,” Bro said. “I’d rather have my child, but, by golly, if I have to give her up, we’re going to make it count.”

Fighting back tears, Heyer’s father, Mark Heyer, also spoke about the pride he feels when he hears others remember his daughter, and he encouraged people to use her death as an opportunity to practice forgiveness.

“No father should have to do this …. She loved people, she wanted equality, and in this issue of the day of her passing she wanted to put down hate, and for my part we just need to stop all this stuff and forgive each other,” he said.

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(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Mourners observe a moment of silence during the memorial service for Heather Heyer outside the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Va.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

A mourner attaches a sticker honoring Heather Heyer prior to her memorial service in Charlottesville, Va.

(Julia Rendleman / Associated Press)

April Muniz cries on Tom Clay’s shoulder as they wait to enter the memorial service.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

A chalk message calling for a park to be renamed after Heather Heyer is written on the street where she was killed.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

The Paramount Theater marquee in Charlottesville, Va., pays tribute to Heather Heyer.

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