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Heather Heyer's Mom Tells White Supremacists: 'You Just Magnified Her'

“If I’ve got to give her up, we’re going to make it count,” Susan Bro told hundreds of mourners.

16/08/2017 21:54 SAST | Updated 16/08/2017 21:54 SAST

"Gone but not forgotten," read a sign above Charlottesville's Paramount Theater Wednesday, as hundreds gathered to pay homage to Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old killed over the weekend during a violent rally in the city.

Many mourners wore purple, Heyer's favorite color. Photos of Heyer flashed on the screen ― posing with friends, on the beach, out to dinner, holding a baby.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Mourners gather inside the Paramount Theater for a memorial service for Heather Heyer.

"She loved people. She wanted equality. And this issue of the day of her passing she wanted to put down hate," her father, Mark Heyer, said while holding back tears. "We just need to stop all this stuff and forgive each other."

Kathy Brinkley, a close friend of Heyer's mother, said the young woman "lost her life defending the lives of people." Heyer's grandfather, Elwood Shrader, recalled that Heyer had a passion for justice at an early age, calling out inequalities wherever she saw them.

President Donald Trump spoke out again about Heyer, whom he called an "incredible young woman" during a Tuesday news conference, in a tweet Wednesday:

"She always had a very strong sense of right and wrong. She always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair," her mother, Susan Bro, told HuffPost in an exclusive interview on Sunday. "Somehow I almost feel that this is what she was born to be, is a focal point for change. I'm proud that what she was doing was peaceful. She wasn't there fighting with people."

White supremacists and members of the alt-right had planned a "Unite The Right" rally Saturday to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Charlottesville. They clashed with counter-protesters throughout the weekend, culminating in an attack by James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer. Fields drove a car through the crowds, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others. He has been charged with second-degree murder.

Two state troopers also died after their helicopter ― which was patrolling during the violence ― crashed nearby.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Susan Bro, Heyer's mother, speaks during her service.

Solidarity protests spread across the country like wildfire following Saturday's events. People in Durham, North Carolina, toppled a Confederate statue on Monday evening. The Baltimore City Council also voted to take down four Confederate statues.

Leaders of white nationalist and neo-Nazi movements have failed to decry Heyer's death, instead hailing Saturday's demonstration as a success and blaming law enforcement for not respecting their right to free speech.

They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what? You just magnified her. Heather Heyer's mother

Bro reminisced during the memorial about the close relationship she had with her daughter. "She paid attention. She made a lot of us pay attention," she said. "She and I would talk, and I would listen and we would negotiate."

"Although Heather was a caring and compassionate person, so are a lot of you," Bro said. "And I think the reason that what happened to Heather has struck a chord is because we know that what she did is achievable. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what? You just magnified her."

"By golly, if I've got to give her up, we're going to make it count," Bro said.

  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters
    A man wears a purple ribbon to remember Heather Heyer, who was killed protesting during a white supremacist rally, as he arrives for her memorial service at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 16, 2017.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    The Paramount Theater marquee bears the name of Heather Heyer.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, walks by a picture of her daughter after speaking at her memorial service.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    Mourners gather inside the Paramount Theater.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    Heather Heyer's father, Mark Heyer, speaks at her memorial service.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    Mourners inside the Paramount Theater wear purple, as Heyer's family had requested. Purple was her favorite color.
  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters
    People line up to attend the memorial service.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    Marcus Martin (center), who was injured in the same car attack that killed Heyer, leaves the memorial service.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    Anna Quillon hands out purple pieces of cloth outside the memorial service.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    People wore stickers and ribbons to the memorial service.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    A poster announcing the memorial service.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    Mia Jones shows off the "NO H8" message written on her hands.
  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters
    Outside the service, people carry guns to provide security in the event of far-right protesters.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    A person tapes a note to the front door of a bookstore to announce that it will close during the memorial service for Heather Heyer.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    A man puts on a purple ribbon while waiting in line.
  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters
    People carry bats and shields to provide security.

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