Charlottesville to rename street for woman killed during August protest
The city council of Charlottesville, Virginia has voted to rename a street after Heather Heyer who was killed while protesting a white supremacist rally on August 12.
On the 4th street in Charlottesville, where Heyer, 32, died there will be a sign with her name, as requested by her mother, Susan Bro.
“Even the thought of going there now is very challenging. I didn’t even go to the site until a week after she passed away, and that was very, very difficult,” Bro told CNN affiliate WVIR. “For me, that spot is the site of my daughter’s murder.”
Heyer was among the protesters who came to confront a white supremacist rally, which gathered to demonstrate against the planned relocation of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue. A driver then plowed into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heyer and injuring over a dozen others.
The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was charged with second-degree murder. He reportedly supported white supremacists.
Heyer’s killing and the violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters triggered a wave of Confederate monument removals across the US, which are seen by many as symbols of racism and support for slavery.
On Wednesday, a judge in Charlottesville ruled that a state law protecting war memorials could apply retroactively to the city’s statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, after its removal was challenged in court, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch.
However, the judge said he wanted more proof that the statue qualifies as a war memorial, the newspaper reported.
Some in Charlottesville suggested replacing Lee’s monument with Heyer’s, but her mother opposed the idea.
“My goal was never to replace a Confederate statue with one of Heather, and any of Heather’s family and friends who knew anything about statues said absolutely Heather would be mortified and think it was hilarious,” said Heyer’s mother, as the city was deciding how to honor her daughter’s memory.