More than a year after her daughter was killed, the mother of Heather Heyer testified in court Monday about the pain her family has endured since the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year and the power that Heyer still holds.
Heyer was killed on August 12, 2017, after a self-declared neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racism protestors. The killer, James A. Fields Jr., was found guilty of first-degree murder and nine other counts this week, according to BuzzFeed News.
Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, spoke at the sentencing trial for Fields about carrying on her daughter’s legacy:
“Heather was full of love, full of justice, and full of fairness. Mr. Fields tried to silence her, but I refuse to allow that. I’m the type of mom where if you mess with my kid on the playground, it’s on. I stood up in her place. I talk to everyone who will listen about her and about hate.”
Despite the strong legacy her daughter leaves, Bro said she would “trade every bit of it just to hold my daughter again.”
Bro then detailed the pain she and her family have gone through in the past 16 months.
“Her death was like an explosion in the world,” Bro said. “I can’t concentrate. I can’t read books. Some days I can’t do anything but cry or sit and stare.
“Almost all members of our family have gone into grief therapy as the darkness has tried to swallow us whole,” she added. “We are survivors, but we are much sadder survivors. We are forever scarred by the pain.”