Heather Heyer “wanted to put down hate.”
Those words from her father, Mark Heyer, summed up the spirit of a memorial held Wednesday for Heather, the victim who died after a man plowed a car into a crowd of people protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville over the weekend.
The memorial capped another day the nation joined in rejecting racial bigotry in America, prompting somber eulogies from Heyer’s parents who remembered the 32-year-old as a woman who respected and welcomed everyone.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up,” said her mother, Susan Bro. “Well, guess what? you just magnified her.”
Heyer, a Charlottesville resident who worked as a legal assistant, was described as a woman who stood for diversity and died doing something she strongly believed in. She died, and at least 19 people were injured, after police said an Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr., drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday.
Fields faces second-degree murder charges, among other charges.
Large crowds gathered at a theater in Charlottesville where her relatives read eulogies about the victim and issued a rallying cry to unite the nation against racism and bigotry — an issue President Donald Trump has been reluctant to take a stronger stance on.
Related: Watch President Trump's combative news conference on Charlottesville
“This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy. This is not the end of Heather’s legacy,” Bro said. “You need to find in your heart that small spark of accountability. What is there that I can do to make the world a better place? What injustice do I see?”
The memorial, which was broadcast by most major networks, sparked conversations online about where the nation stands four days after white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a confederate statue.
Trump’s reluctance to denounce racism and bigotry has prompted strong condemnation from a lot of sides, including members of the Republican Party, past presidents and business leaders.
Related: Bushes, Obama, Clinton weigh in on Charlottesville much more presidentially
Trump tweeted Wednesday to remember Heyer and acknowledge her memorial, but critics said he should have done more. Though he said Tuesday that he would make an effort to call the family, some noted that Trump had not done so as of Wednesday.
At her memorial, Bro recalled one of Heyer’s Facebook posts showing a quote that, since her death, has gone viral. Bro says the quote characterizes who she was.
Have some thoughts to share?
Join me in a conversation: Shoot me a private email with your thoughts or ideas on a different approach to this story. As always, you can also send us a tweet.
Read The Conversation on Flipboard.
After Charlottesville, a father's emotional message to white supremacist son: you're 'not welcome ... any longer'
After Charlottesville, Trump's pardon of ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio is a different story
Trump vs. corporate America CEOs: How Charlottesville changed everything
Trump says 'alt-left' bears some blame for Charlottesville. What exactly is it?