Mother of Charlottesville Victim Heather Heyer Speaks Out on Anniversary of Slaying

Heather Heyer Susan Bro

Heyer was killed during a white nationalist march in the picturesque Virginia city.

The mother of a woman who was killed in the attack at last year's white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, spoke out as demonstrators prepared to take their far-right message to Washington this weekend

Susan Bro lost her daughter, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, when she was killed in August 2017 while making her convictions known alongside hundreds of other counterprotesters at last year's Unite the Right event.

With this year's Unite the Right 2 event looming, Bro spoke to The Associated Press about her grief.

"I often liken dealing with grief of the loss of a loved one but especially the loss of a child to standing in the shallows," Bro said from the law office where her daughter once worked as a paralegal. "And every so often a wave will wash over you and you let the wave wash over and you don't chase it, you let it go."

Bro has frequently sat for interviews in which she talks about her daughter's legacy and what it's like to lose a child. 

However, with the man accused in the car attack that killed Heyer soon to face state and federal charges and with many of the same neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members now descending on Washington, D.C., a year later, Bro said that she feels "like the high tide is in."

"So you look at the calendar. I have a small star on today and tomorrow," Bro said Saturday. "Feels like today is kind of sad and heavy and not looking forward to tomorrow but knowing I can survive it, I've survived all the other firsts."

Public grieving in the face of these atrocities, Bro seemed to say, is a move in the right direction. 

"Part of why I speak out and do what I do is say that there are fewer and fewer mothers who have to cry over a lost child," she said. "And we've had an awful lot of shootings, unnecessary shootings."

On Saturday, hundreds marched peacefully in Charlottesville, both in remembrance of Heyer and to send a message of love ahead of Sunday's Washington march.

Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of last year's Unite the Right rally, is again at the forefront of this year's event.

The white nationalists will march from Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood to Lafayette Square directly across the street from the White House. 

There are expected to be counterprotesters near the same site, as well as a heavy police presence.