Heather Heyer's Mom Makes Emotional Appearance at MTV VMAs 2 Weeks After Deadly Charlottesville Rally
Susan Bro made an emotional appearance at the 2017 VMAs on Sunday night
During a moving speech before presenting the best fight against the system award, Bro announced the Heather Heyer Foundation — a nonprofit organization providing scholarships for those interested in social justice issues.
“Only 15 days ago, my daughter was killed as she protested racism,” Bro began. “I miss her, but I know she’s here tonight. I have been deeply moved to see people around the world — the whole world — find inspiration in her courage.”
She continued: “I want people to know that Heather never marched alone, she was always joined by people from every race and every background in this country.”
She revealed that MTV would honor all six nominees up for the award.
Before Bro took to the stage, Rev. Robert W. Lee — a descendant of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — condemned white supremacy and racism in a passionate speech before introducing the grieving mother.
Heyer was tragically killed at the age of 32 when a driver rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally was organized by a group of white nationalists, KKK members and members of the alt-right. Heyer had shown up to protest against the white supremacists and their racist message.
Ahead of the show, Bro said she was shocked when she was invited by MTV to present the social justice award – a newly added item for the VMAs ceremony to reflect activism and human rights.
“When they first asked me I hadn’t realized how far-reaching Heather’s message had been,” Bro recently told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview.
“I was a bit skeptical. ‘What do you want a 60 year old woman on your show for?’ I didn’t realize how many people were paying attention. But now I’ve realized this is bigger than Heather, this is bigger than me. This is something that touches people everywhere, the idea that you can stand up and be counted, that you have it within you to be that hero, so I feel like I have an obligation to share that.”
Bro, 60, said she wanted to make Heyer’s life count and had decided to start a new foundation in her daughter’s name.
“I want to make her death count,” Bro said. “We’re not going to waste this. I would never give up my child willingly. If she had to die, at least we’re going to serve a purpose with it.”
The Heather Heyer Foundation will provide scholarships to provide financial assistance to individuals passionate about positive social change.
The 2017 MTV VMAs will be broadcast live from the Forum in Inglewood, California — at 8 p.m. ET on MTV