Even as a child Charlottesville protest victim Heather Heyer had a strong sense of social justice with her mother saying her death was not in vain.
Susan Bro remembered her daughter as a person who knew right from wrong and would always choose love over hate.
“I don’t want her death to be a focus for more hatred, I want her death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion,” Ms Bro told the Huffington Post.
“No mother wants to lose a child, but I’m proud of her. I’m proud of what she did.”
Ms Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, died when she was allegedly mowed down by white supremacist James Fields Jr, 20, at a protest rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, local time.
“I think he’s still very young, and I’m sorry he believed that hate could fix problems. Hate only brings more hate,” Ms Bro said. “Heather was not about hate, Heather was about stopping hatred. Heather was about bringing an end to injustice.
“She always had a very strong sense of right and wrong, she always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair. Somehow I almost feel that this is what she was born to be, is a focal point for change. I’m proud that what she was doing was peaceful, she wasn’t there fighting with people.”
Ms Bro described her daughter as someone who supported vulnerable people, saying she often invited friends who were “having a hard time” to stay at the family home, sometimes for months.
A colleague at the law firm where Ms Heyer worked said she was respected for defending others.
Alfred A Wilson, a manager at the Miller Law Group in Charlottesville, told the New York Times Ms Heyer pushed back against “any type of discrimination. That’s just how she’s always been.”
He recalled a time when a former boyfriend of Ms Heyer’s reacted strangely after learning she was friendly with Mr Wilson, who is black.
No mother wants to lose a child, but I’m proud of her. I’m proud of what she did.
Heather Heyer’s mother Susan Bro
“She just didn’t like the way he was judging me as a minority male that’s doing well for myself,” Mr. Wilson said, adding that she broke off the relationship with the man.
A childhood friend, Felicia Correa, remembered Ms Heyer standing up to bullies on the school bus.
“People will remember her name and remember what she died for,” Ms Correa said.
Ms Heyer recently helped Ms Correa sort through her medical bills after she suffered complications from multiple sclerosis, guiding her through the financial process.
“She died for a reason,” Ms Correa. “I don’t see any difference in her or a soldier who died in war. She, in a sense, died for her country. She was there standing up for what was right. I just want to make sure that it wasn’t in vain.”