CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Heather Heyer dedicated her life to standing up for those she felt were not being heard, her parents say. She died while campaigning against hate.
“Heather her entire life has been passionate about justice for everyone and fairness and fair treatment and you better be able to explain to her why something was true and not true and why it had to be that way,” her mother Susan Bro said Sunday.
“It was important to her to speak up for people that she felt were not being heard, to speak up when injustices were happening and she saw in the lives of many of her African-American friends particularly and her gay friends that equal rights were not being given.”
The 32-year-old was killed Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters gathered to oppose a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups.
Nineteen others were injured in the horrific incident.
A 20-year-old man from Ohio, James Alex Fields Jr., is being held and could face a second-degree murder charge.
Heather’s father Mark Heyer said his daughter had strong convictions and was passionate about helping people.
“She died trying to bring about that purpose,” he said. “She was always passionate about the beliefs she held. She had a bigger backbone than I did.”
Mark Heyer said the only way to get through this tough time is to remember God teaches us to forgive.
“We need to start with forgiveness and stop all of the hate,” he said.
Heather worked as a paralegal for a Charlottesville law firm, assisting clients through the bankruptcy filing process.
The Miller Law Group said in its online bio of Heyer that she had a lot of knowledge and experience in the bankruptcy field.
Larry Miller, the president of the firm, told the Daily Beast that Heyer had a big heart.
“She’d hold their hand and make sure they would get the stuff in timely, that way we wouldn’t have any issues,” Miller said. “She was really good at that.”
Heyer had just celebrated her five-year anniversary at her job.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe praised Heyer.
“She was doing what she loved,” McAuliffe said. “She was fighting for democracy, (for) free speech, to stop hatred and bigotry.”