Heather Heyer Charlottesville: Susan Bro says she still receives support, two years after daughter Heather Heyers death. Why? “Because shes white.”
It’s been two years since the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which dozens of people were injured and 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed by an avowed white supremacist. That man, James Alex Fields Jr., was sentenced to life plus 419 years on federal hate crime charges earlier this year.
In an interview with CBS News, Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said she has received an outpouring of support since Heather’s death. She acknowledges, however, that this amount of support is due to white privilege.
“Support poured in for me from around the world… That’s still coming in two years later,” Bro said. “I don’t know that Eric Garner’s family, Trayvon Martin’s family, I don’t know that any of those people are still getting that level of support.”
“Why so much excitement? Why so much attention? It’s because she’s white,” Bro said.
Fields, Bro said, may have had a rough childhood and mental health issues, but his motivation was white supremacy. “To me, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. If it posts white supremacy images, if it shares white supremacist song lyrics, if they recommend white supremacist books, I’d say they’re pretty much a white supremacist,” Bro said.
“We have a hate problem in this country,” she said in the interview with historian Ibram X. Kendi, author of the new book “How to Be an Antiracist”. “That’s where the focus needs to be. Not on Heather. Not on her death. There were about 40 people injured in that car attack and everybody focuses on Heather.”
Two years after Charlottesville, Heyer’s death not only continues to draw the attention of the media and those concerned for Bro, but also those who hate her.
Bro told the Daily Beast in 2017 she needed to place her daughter’s ashes at an unmarked, undisclosed, “completely protected” location because her family was getting threats and messages of hatred from extremists. The secrecy of Heyer’s resting place protects her mother and those who work there.
“It’s a symptom of hate in society that you should have to protect your child’s grave, for Pete’s sake,” Bro said. “So, I’m protecting my child now.” She also said at the time that she was starting to see President Trump as responsible for her daughter’s death.
“I’m starting to come to that conclusion because he definitely pushes forward a hateful agenda,” Bro said in the interview. “There are family members that will possibly not have anything to do with me for saying so. Many family members are strong Trump supporters and continue to be so despite everything they see.”
Since her daughter was killed, Bro has spoken out numerous times. Last year, she marked the solemn anniversary by warning people not to “respond to the violence” of the Unite the Right 2 rally. There’s “no place for hate,” she said. Bro also said it is “difficult to say” if the country has made progress in the year since her daughter’s death.
She has set up the Heather Heyer Foundation in her daughter’s memory to pay for scholarships and support activism and empowerment.
Shortly after the Charlottesville incident, President Trump said there was “hate on both sides” of the protests. Bro responded to this by saying she would not take a call from Mr. Trump. “After what he said about my child… It’s not that I saw somebody else’s tweets about him. I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. Heyer with the KKK and white supremacists,” she said.