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The mother of the young woman mowed down while protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville urged mourners at a memorial service Wednesday to “make my child’s death worthwhile” by confronting injustice the way she did.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” said Susan Bro, receiving a standing ovation from the hundreds who packed a downtown theater to remember 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Heyer’s death Saturday — and President Donald Trump’s insistence that “both sides” bear responsibility for the violence — continued to reverberate across the country, triggering fury among many Americans and soul-searching about the state of race relations in the U.S. The uproar has accelerated efforts in many cities to remove symbols of the Confederacy.
Heyer was eulogized as a woman with a powerful sense of fairness. The mourners, many of them wearing purple, her favorite color, applauded as her mother urged them to channel their anger not into violence but into “righteous action.”
State troopers were stationed on the surrounding streets, but the white nationalists who had vowed to show up were nowhere to be seen among the residents, clergy and tourists outside the Paramount Theater, just blocks from where Heyer died.
Heyer, a white legal assistant from Charlottesville, was killed and 19 others were injured Saturday when a car plowed into counterprotesters who had taken to the streets to decry what was believed to be the country’s biggest gathering of white nationalists in at least a decade.
The hundreds of white nationalists — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members — had descended on Charlottesville after the city decided to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The driver of the car, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man described as an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, was arrested and charged with murder and other offenses.
On Wednesday night, hundreds of people gathered on the University of Virginia campus for a candlelight vigil against hate and violence. They sang several spirituals and observed a moment of silence for the three lives lost during Saturday’s violence.
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