"No father should have to do this," Mark Heyer began his speech

Advertisement

The father of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed when a driver allegedly rammed his car into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally on Saturday, fought back tears as he spoke at her memorial service on Wednesday.

“No father should have to do this,” Mark Heyer began.

He told a story about when the family went on vacation when Heather was 9-years-old. She refused to put a sweater on despite her mother’s instruction, which resulted in a two-hour standoff.

“To this day, I don’t remember how that turned out,” Mark said. “All I remember is Heather’s passion. Heather’s passion extended to her ideas, her thoughts.”

The father pleaded with those listening to following Heather’s example and love each other.

“She loved people, she wanted equality,” he said. “And in this issue, on the day of her passing, she wanted to put down hate. And for my part, we just need to stop all this stuff and just forgive each other. I think that’s what the Lord would want us to do is to stop — just love one another.”

The racial diversity of those gathered in the auditorium reflected Heather’s embrace of people of all backgrounds, he said.

“I came here today, and I was overwhelmed at the rainbow of colors in this room. That’s how Heather was. It didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, if she loved you that was it — you were stuck,” Mark said. “So for that, I’m truly proud of my daughter.”

Memorial Held In Charlottesville For Heather Heyer, Victim Of Car Ramming Incident During Protest After White Supremacists' Rally
heather-heyer
Credit: Facebook

Susan Bro, Heather’s mother, also spoke to the crowd and encouraged them to firmly stand up for what they believed in.

“The truth is, we are going to have our differences. We are going to be angry with each other,” she said. “But let’s channel that difference, that anger, into righteous action.”

The mother said they would use her death as a means for change.

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what, you just magnified her,” Bro said to cheers and a standing ovation from the audience.

The tribute, open to the public, was scheduled for 11 a.m. inside Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater. Heather’s family asked attendees to “please wear something purple.” “She was an outspoken, outgoing, determined and passionate individual and had a special regard for social injustices and especially those concerning race relations,” the family wrote in a press release.

Confederate Monument Protest
Confederate Monument Protest

A GoFundMe page set up to help her family raised nearly $225,000, exceeding their goal of $50,000.

“She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her,” Heather’s mother said, according to the donation page.

At least 26 people were taken to a local hospital from the Charlottesville rally and counter-protests, the Northwest Herald reported. At least 19 of those victims are believed to be injured in the car crash, according to the New York Times.

Two Virginia state troopers, Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, also died in a helicopter crash near the demonstrations.

The marquee at the Paramount Theater currently reads: “Heather Heyer: Gone but Not Forgotten.”