Four months after a Charlottesville woman was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally in her hometown, officials came together to dedicate part of the street where she had died in her honor.
Part of 4th Street was renamed "Honorary Heather Heyer Way" on Wednesday as a tribute to the late 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist who was killed when a car plowed into protesters gathered to decry a Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12.
About three dozen people gathered to honor Heyer’s life, including her mother, Susan Bro.
“I'm glad that they recognize what she means to the history of the city, but I'm also glad that she's only a small memorial because she's really only a small part of the rich history of the city,” Bro told WCAV-TV.
The car that struck and killed Heyer was driven by 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., who was described as an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazism.
He has been charged with first-degree murder in her killing, an upgrade to the original charge of second-degree murder.
“I was relieved to see evidence I believe validated the stronger charge,” Bro told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.
Since Heyer’s death, Bro said she has received hate mail and death threats and buried her daughter at an undisclosed location to ensure her remains will rest in peace.
A makeshift memorial quickly popped up for Heyer in the spot where she was killed, and Wednesday’s dedication made a form of tribute permanent.
A person must have made an important contribution to Charlottesville or represent a part of its history to be deemed an appropriate candidate to name a street after.
The Charlottesville City Council approved the measure to designate part of 4th Street “Honorary Heather Heyer Way” in October.
“At the request of the family, dedicating the street ‘Heather Heyer Way,’ as a memorial to her tenacity and the fight for social justice, is a small step that we could do to change the city for the better,” Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said.