Heather Heyer

 

On Saturday 12 August 2017, the horrible news flashed around the globe: a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised, had died at the hands of another. It was not an accident.

The 20-year-old killer had grown to adulthood filled with hate. On that day, his target was a gathering of people peacefully protesting a rally organized by neo-Nazi white-supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

The counter-protest assembled on the sidelines of a raucous crowd that held lit torches and screamed racial epithets in a scene reminiscent of Hitler's Germany. They were there ostensibly to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. But their chants of "Heil Trump" and "blood and soil” — the Nazi rallying cry — betrayed their true intentions.

Many openly carried semi-automatic weapons. They were loud, aggressive, and threatening. Local residents scattered in fear of the crowd’s angry rhetoric. But #heatherheyer and her friends held fast, spreading their message of love, hope, and inclusion.

In a split second, bodies were flying. The assailant had steered his car, at speed, into the peaceful protest. Heather was hit hardest and flung furthest. She would have turned 34 today had she survived the ordeal. 40 others were injured, 19 critically.

Since her tragic death, we’ve learned a lot about Heather: She was against discrimination of all forms. She could moved to tears by inequality of any kind. She advocated for her community and took action to improve lives. She transformed those around her by her example.

Heather was an #everydayhero. She didn’t just believe in being good, but in doing good. Her positive moral outlook deserved to be celebrated, not stamped out.

On the evening of 12 August 2017, Heather took to the streets to stand up to hate and bigotry. She tried to change minds. But hate and bigotry took her in a single, senseless, brutal act of violence.

We honor and remember Heather Heyer on her birthday, for it is also the UN’s International Day of Peacekeepers. And peace was Heather Heyer’s primary goal.

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.
— Anonymous
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Who's your #HistoryHero?

Tell us in the comments below. We’ll let you know when we feature him or her on the #HistoryHero BLAST.