Heather Heyer’s mother visits memorial on one-year anniversary of daughter’s death

Susan Bro said the weekend of demonstrations should focus on everyone who was injured last August


Susan Bro thanked activists for being present, but she quickly added that the events of the weekend are not just about her daughter, Heather Heyer, who was killed in a car attack in downtown Charlottesville last August. 

Riley Walsh | Cavalier Daily

On the one-year anniversary of the deadly car attack that ended her daughter’s life, Susan Bro and other activists gathered to honor Heather Heyer’s life at the site of where a vehicle plowed through a crowd of people protesting the white supremacist Unite the Right rally last August.

In a speech, Bro thanked activists for being present, but she quickly added that the events of the weekend are not just about Heyer. 

“Oh my dear heavens, there were so many people who were wounded that day,” Bro said. “People who are suffering — injured. There is so much healing to do.”

When Bro arrived, she entered through a crowd of Virginia State Police officers, rather than of the designated checkpoints. The officers moved aside and moved the barricade so she could pass through. Activists banded together to give Bro privacy but made room for the media when Bro asked them to put their hands down. 

Bro said there are racial disparities in Charlottesville and throughout the country, noting that “we have got to fix this, or we’ll be back right here in no time.”

“There are mothers who lose their children all the time, and we don’t think to give a damn,” Bro told the crowd. “The world went crazy when Heather lost her life, and that's not fair. I don’t want other mothers to be in my spot. I don’t want other mothers to go through this.” 

Bro also thanked Virginia State Police for their presence and sacrifice, leaving flowers for the two officers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M. M. Bates, who were killed in a helicopter crash related to last year’s events. 

The memorial service concluded with song and community members hugging Bro. After Bro was done addressing the crowd, the activists dispersed without incident. 

Last December, the City of Charlottesville dedicated a portion of Fourth Street — where the car attack occurred — as Heather Heyer Way. 

The man accused of driving the car into the crowd, James Alex Fields Jr., now faces numerous hate crime charges, to which he has pled not guilty.

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