Susan Bro, the mother of the young woman who was killed when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, made it clear on Wednesday that she did not want her daughter's death to be for nothing.
"I want this to spread, I don't want this to die," Bro said during Heather Heyer's memorial service, which was given coverage by news organizations across the nation. "This is just the beginning of Heather's legacy."
Her powerful speech was equal parts a tribute to her daughter's activism, a call to progressive action, and also a defiant stand against the ideologies that led to Heyer's tragic death.
"They tried to kill my child to shut her up," she said, then re-directed her words so that she was speaking to racists everywhere. "Well guess what? You just magnified her."
The crowd of reportedly over 1,000 people echoed her sentiments with thunderous applause.
Bro's grief was tangible, and she used it as a vehicle for a message she hoped would hit home for many Americans. Alongside an image of her daughter, she spoke of personal responsibility in the fight for social justice and entreated the grieving to do their part in making the world a better place, especially when things are most difficult. She advocated for the uncomfortable conversations that families, friends, and communities across America must have in order for Charlottesville to become an anomaly, instead of a destructive pattern.
"I’d rather have my child," she finished. "But by golly if I have to give her up, we’re going to make it count."
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters Jonathan Ernst