“I’d rather have my child, but by golly if I’ve got to give her up, we’re going to make it count”.
This was the moving tribute, Heather Heyer’s mother gave at her daughter’s funeral on Wednesday– a vow that her child’s life would not be lived in vain.
Heather Heyer 32, was tragically killed during the Charlottesville, Virginia riots last week when a car ploughed full speed through the crowd of protesters. 20-year-old white supremacist, James Alex Fields was at the wheel and has since been arrested facing charges of murder.
‘The Unite the Right’ rally converged on Charlottesville, with hundreds of people on America’s racist fringe protesting to protect “white rights” and embrace fascism.
Things escalated, when counter-protesters, including Heather Heyer became involved, objecting to the movement and incensing alt-right rioters who became violent. As well as Heyer’s senseless murder, numerous counter-protesters were badly injured.
The event sparked even more fury across the US and internationally, when Donald Trump pointedly refused to solely condemn the brutality of far-right groups, following Heather’s death and chose instead to attribute blame to “many sides”– even doubling up on the wording for added effect.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” he said.
“Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
Trump also claimed that left-wing protesters were “violently attacking” white supremacists and insisted the “alt-left” were as much to blame as the far-right.
Worse still, his acknowledgement of Heyer and her family was grossly inadequate, when he described the tragedy as “sad”.
He also sent his “best regards” on Twitter to all others injured at the event– a sentiment so insufficient to be shameful.
Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
But, despite the hate and violence incited by these groups in America, despite the fact the American President is doing all he can to divide the country even more, and despite her daughter falling victim to it all, Heather Heyer’s mother chose a powerful and poignant message to commemorate the death of her child:
“Let’s channel that anger not into hate, not into violence, not into fear but let’s channel that difference, that anger into righteous action.
“Remember in your heart, if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. Find what’s wrong, don’t ignore it, don’t look the other way, you make a point to look at it and say to yourself: ‘what can I do to make a difference?’ And that’s how you’re going to make my child’s death worthwhile.”