Heather Heyer re­mem­bered: ‘She wanted to put down hate’

Wo­man killed at Va. rally wanted to make a dif­fer­ence, fam­ily says

The Commercial Appeal - - Business -

USA TO­DAY

friends, sup­port­ers and other mourn­ers gath­ered Wed­nes­day in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, to honor a 32-year-old legal as­sis­tant who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of peo­ple who turned out to protest a white su­prem­a­cist rally.

Heather Heyer’s shock­ing death Satur­day fol­lowed vi­o­lent clashes with coun­ter­protesters af­ter Ku Klux Klan mem­bers and neo-Nazis de­scended on the small col­lege town to rally against the city’s de­ci­sion to re­move a mon­u­ment to Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“She wanted re­spect for ev­ery­one. In our fam­ily, all lives mat­tered, and she ab­sorbed that re­ally well,” Heyer’s grand­fa­ther El­wood Shrader said.

Her fa­ther, Mark Heyer, said she loved peo­ple and pushed for equal­ity. “She wanted to put down hate. We just need to stop all this stuff and love one an­other,” he said.

Her mother, Su­san Bro, up the Facebook post that pep­pered so­cial me­dia in the days af­ter Heyer’s death.

“My child’s fa­mous Facebook post was, ‘If you’re not out­raged, you’re not pay­ing at­ten­tion.’ ” Bro said. “She paid at­ten­tion. She made a lot of us pay at­ten­tion.”

Bro said she hopes the me­mo­rial is just the be­gin­ning of “Heather’s legacy” and en­courFam­ily, aged at­ten­dees to make a dif­fer­ence in the world.

“The rea­son that what hap­pened to Heather struck a chord is that we know what she did was achiev­able,” Bro said. “They tried to kill my daugh­ter to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just mag­ni­fied her.”

Po­lice charged James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, with se­cond-de­gree mur­der for al­leged­brought ly slam­ming his car into coun­ter­protesters leav­ing the area af­ter po­lice can­celed the white su­prem­a­cist rally.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted Wed­nes­day morn­ing about the ser­vice.

“Me­mo­rial ser­vice to­day for beau­ti­ful and in­cred­i­ble Heather Heyer, a truly spe­cial young wo­man. She will be long re­mem­bered by all!” the tweet read.

Heyer, who grew up in nearby Green County and worked at a law firm, was re­mem­bered by loved ones as a coura­geous be­liever in jus­tice and equal­ity. Fam­ily mem­bers said they hoped the me­mo­rial ser­vice would serve to spread the mes­sage of her com­pas­sion.

Heyer’s boss, Larry Miller, said she was ac­tive in the firm’s bank­ruptcy prac­tice and was like a fam­ily mem­ber to him.

“She’s very com­pas­sion­ate, she’s very pre­cise, got a big heart, she wants to make sure that things are right,” Miller said. “She cares about the peo­ple that we take care of. She’s just a great per­son.”

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