As the second annual Unite the Right rally is set to begin, this time in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., Charlottesville streets are covered in chalk messages remembering a life they lost at last year’s rally.
32-year-old Heather Heyer attended the first ever Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia last August to counterprotest, when a car, driven by a white supremacist, rammed into the crowd, injuring dozens and killing Heyer.
Unite the Right rallies attract violent white-supremacists, white-nationalists, paramilitary, and other right-wing groups, The Cut reports.
The purpose of the Unite the Right rally is to protest the civil rights abuses of groups on the right, as was last year’s rally where a 20-year-old black man was brutally beat and Heather Heyer killed.
“Heather denounced any type of discrimination. She stood up for gay rights and just anything she felt like was wrong, she stood for,” Heyer’s friend Courtney Commander told NPR last year.
This weekend, people are pouring into Charlottesville to leave chalk messages for Heyer in the place of her death, remembering her message and honoring her life.
The President Sent Out a Tweet Reminding us That Last Year’s Rally Resulted in Senseless Death; Heyer’s Mother Has Something to Say About it
“The black community and the people of color in Charlottesville have been battling this for many years,” Heyer’s mother Susan Bro told NPR.
“But a white girl dies and suddenly everybody goes, ‘Oh my God we’ve got a problem.'”
Listen to the full audio of Susan Bro’s interview with NPR yesterday:
“They knocked the baton out of her hand. Well, I picked it up and I’m not only running with that baton but I’m passing off little batons to as many people as I can,” Bro said.
Heyer told her friend shortly before her death that she feared if she took to the streets to speak out on what she believes, she might lose her life.
“I want to go so bad, but I just don’t want to die. I’m so scared because these people are so serious,” Heyer said right before leaving for last year’s rally.
James Fields of Ohio was ultimately charged with second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and for failing to stop.
This story is being developed.