Heyer, 32, a legal assistant from Virginia, was one of 20 people struck by vehicle driven into a crowd of counter-protesters
Sunday 13 August 2017
The woman who died when a car rammed into a group of people protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was named on Sunday as Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old legal assistant with a law firm in Virginia, who repeatedly championed civil rights issues on social media.
Heyer, whose Facebook cover photo read: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”, worked for the Virginia law firm Miller Law and regularly drew attention to cases of police malpractice and racism, as well as posting her support for Bernie Sanders in his presidential campaign.
A friend from childhood, Felicia Correa, who launched a crowdfunding page and said she was speaking for Heyer’s mother, who was not ready to speak in public, said: “She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her.”
Her boss at the law firm said she had attended Saturday’s counter-demonstration to send a clear message to neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan sympathizers that people in her hometown abhor their views. She was “a very strong, very opinionated young woman” who “made known that she was all about equality”, Alfred Wilson told Reuters.
However, it was testimony to the bitterness of the local situation that among scores of tributes to Heyer’s principles and courage, several people posted comments laying equal blame on the anti-racist and civil rights groups as on the neo-Nazi and far-right groups whose planned rally they were demonstrating against.
The crowdfunding page to raise money for her family has already far exceeded its $50,000 target, with almost 3,000 people donating within 11 hours, many leaving tributes describing her as a hero. Sheryl Hodge wrote: “We are so sad and outraged. We will not let Heather go in vain.” George Christos said: “Very sad that our country continues to see this hatred and that a young life was lost as a result.”
Her friends were organising a candlelit vigil in her memory on Sunday night.
Heyer came from Greene County, one of the smallest counties in Virginia, where she graduated from William Monroe high school – motto “Every child, every chance, every day” – and kept in touch with her alumni from the class of 2003. The school was originally founded from money left by William Monroe, an 18th-century immigrant from England, to provide free education for white children, but it now posts a firm commitment on its website against discrimination “on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities”.