Street dedication a start in never-ending battle against hate

On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that city officials and residents gathered together in Charlottesville, Virginia near the site where Heather Heyer died to dedicate part of a downtown street in her honor. A portion of Fourth Street has been renamed “Heather Heyer Way” in her memory.

If you recall, this was the street where Heyer was killed on Aug. 12 after a car plowed into a group of anti-racist demonstrators who were protesting a white supremacist rally in the city.

The Huffington Post reported Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, spoke at the dedication event, mentioning how difficult it was for her to come to the street.

“I find it easier to go to the cemetery than to come here, frankly,” Bro said. “(But) I’m proud of how she died. What other legacy could a mother ever want for her child?”

The Huffington Post article said Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer also spoke at the ceremony.

“The terror attack that resulted in Ms. Heyer’s death and serious injuries to dozens more shocked our community and touched the heart and soul of not only Charlottesville, but the entire country,” read a proclamation signed by the mayor. “This honorary designation pays tribute to Ms. Heyer’s dedication to justice, fairness, equal rights for all and positive social change.”

We believe that while the street dedication is a touching way to honor Heyer’s legacy, it is incredibly tragic that a young woman died at 32 years old basically because of a difference in opinion.

There is so much division in this country based on differing viewpoints and hatred for those who don’t share the same views, and there inlies the root of the problem. Intolerance is based on an inability to listen to any perspective outside of our own. This is further illustrated by the fact that Heyer’s mother is forced to keep her daughter’s ashes in an undisclosed location because of “extremists who profess their hatred for Heyer and Bro, and who convey their continued threats of violence toward Bro and others of Heyer’s family,” according to The Huffington Post article.

Bro told the publication that she visits the site without being bothered and that other relatives and close friends have been there.

“It’s a symptom of hate in society that you should have to protect your child’s grave, for Pete’s sake,” Bro said. “So, I’m protecting my child now.”

This street dedication is merely a start. As Heyer’s father, Mark Heyer, told CNN in the weeks following his daughter’s death: “We need to start with forgiveness and stop all of the hate.”