The terrorist attack carried out in Charlottesville at the hands of white nationalist James Alex Fields Jr. injured 19 people and claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when Fields plowed a car into a crowd of protesters there to rally against a white supremacist demonstration.
Heyer had been crossing the street with her friend, Marissa Blair.
“We were just marching around, spreading love — and then the accident happened,” said Blair. “In a split second you see a car, and you see bodies flying.”
Here are five things you need to know about Heather Heyer, the woman murdered in Saturday’s terrorist attack:
1.) HEYER HAD WORKED AS A LEGAL ASSISTANT SINCE JULY 2012
Hired by the Miller Law Group in 2012, a three-attorney firm in Charlottesville, Heyer worked as a legal assistant focusing on consumer bankruptcy, real estate and estate planning.
Just prior to her death, the firm celebrated her five-year anniversary of employment.
“It’s surreal,” said firm attorney Larry Miller. “I’m in shock. I’m in the office right now. Her chair is where she left it Friday night.”
To honor her death, the firm remained closed all of Monday.
“I’m going to miss her,” he said. “It’s a small firm. It’s like family.”
2.) HEYER CHAMPIONED CIVIL RIGHTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Described by her friends as “passionate for justice,” Heyer routinely fought against discrimination and advocated for civil rights on social media. Her Facebook cover photo read: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
“Heather was a very strong woman,” said Alfred A. Wilson, manager of the bankruptcy division at the Miller Law Group. She stood up against “any type of discrimination. That’s just how she’s always been.”
Mr. Wilson said he found Heyer crying at the computer many times.
“Heather being Heather has seen something on Facebook or read something in the news and realized someone has been mistreated and gets upset,” he said.
He recalled a time she dated a man who took issue with the fact she had a black boss.
“She just didn’t like the way he was judging me as a minority male that’s doing well for myself,” Mr. Wilson said.
3. HEYER HAD NO CONNECTIONS WITH ANTIFA
No evidence exists that Heyer had any affiliations with hard-left radicals Antifa, who also committed their fair share of violence over the weekend, nor does any evidence suggest that she engaged in similar political violence.
Marissa Blair emphasized they were peacefully protesting.
“This is our city. We work here. We live here. And we didn’t want neo-Nazis and alt-right and racists to come into our city and think they could spread freely their hate, and their bigotry and their racism,” she said. “We wanted to let them know that we were about love, that we would overpower them. … We were peacefully protesting and we were just standing up for what we believe in. … And that’s what Heather stood for. That’s why she was out there, that’s why we were out there.”
4.) HEYER’S FAMILY HAVE CALLED FOR HEALING AND FORGIVENESS
Upon news of their daughter’s death, Heyer’s parents have gracefully responded with calls of forgiveness and national healing.
“People need to stop hating, and they need to forgive each other,” said her father. “And I include myself in that, in forgiving the guy that did this. He doesn’t know no better. You know, I just think of what the Lord said on the cross. Lord forgive him, they don’t know what they’re doing. … I’m proud of her for standing up. She had more courage than I did. She had more courage than I did. She had a stubborn backbone. She thought she was right. She would stand there and defy you.”
“I hope that her life and what has transpired changes people’s hearts,” he continued. “You can fight all you want and fuss and cuss and do all that stuff, but when you take your last breath, it’s over. It’s done!
“You’re going to take away what a person has and everything else they’re going to have. There is no more — not here, you know,” he added. “And that’s — that’s pretty much all I got, brother.”
5.) HEYER’S GOFUNDME PAGE HAS NOW AMASSED OVER $200,000
The campaign has since been deemed complete and no longer active. It now stands at $225k. No word yet as to the details of her funeral, but a candlelight vigil was held in her honor on Sunday night.
May she rest in peace and may her family find solace amidst this terrible time.