Grace Pauley / StoryCorps
It was almost a year since Susan Bro lost his daughter to the violence that broke out last summer’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Bro’s daughter Heather Heyer was a 32-year-old lawyer who was in Charlottesville to drive back to the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists gathered in the city. She was killed when a car collided with the amount of counter prototypes she marched with as they crossed the road at 4 th and Market streets downtown. Nineteen others were injured.
In a StoryCorps talk last month, brother 61, her daughter remembers her former chairman, Alfred Wilson, 51.
Heyer was more than an employee of Wilson. They were friends, and she was also close to Wilson’s family. Wilson reminds of the day he met Heyer only when she entered the office for a work interview. “Heather was very honest with me and told me,” I’m not writing. I have never worked in an office. Everything I’ve done all my life is bartend or waitress.
He took the chance to hire her anyway. He saw something invaluable in Heyer.
“She could communicate with someone,” says Wilson. “And you know, I’m a black man and I can go out to meet a client and Heather would notice that sometimes it did not shake my hand, and that would only confuse her.”
Since Heyer grew up in a small, mostly white town outside Charlottesville, Wilson said he wondered, “Where does she get this?”
It goes in the family, says Bro. “She comes from a long line of stubborn people – stubborn and perceived, and not afraid to say that.”
Heyer’s conviction to stand up for what she thought was right led her to protest against the white nationalist rally in August.
On the day of the rally, Wilson said, Bro called him from the hospital at about two in the afternoon. “I remember my wife said to me,” Oh my god Alfred. Do you see what happened to the TV? “”
Alfred’s wife had just seen pictures of the car that drove into the crowd of opponents.
“She did not know I was talking to you,” he says to Bro. “I remember thinking,” She’ll tell me Heather has hurt. “But you did not tell me. “
” And then everything was so quiet as if someone had closed the volume control on the world, “says Wilson.
Heyer’s death left a void for Wilson, one that has been particularly sharp during important life events. “In May, I would have two children at the same time, and all I could think where I wanted her to be there, “he says.” But one of the positive sides, “he says to Bro,” every time you showed up to the degree. “
” Your family was very welcome, “says Bro,” but I kept thinking, Heather is the one who should be here. “
In the months following Heyer’s death, Bro and Wilson worked together to create an ideal foundation in Heyer’s name. As the NPR reported Thursday, Heather Heyer Foundation has awarded three scholarships of $ 1,000 each and five scholarships for another reason For people who pursue career in social change.
Recently, Bro has been busy talking to reporters who have come to Charlottesville for Sunday’s anniversary for the rally “Merge the Right.”
“To me, sadness is like standing in the sea foundations, knees deep in the water, “says Bro.” Every time, a wave will wash over. And then I allow myself to cry and be very sad while that wave is there. “
” But I know it will go away, and that’s what makes me through “19659030] Sound produced for Morning Edition by Jud Esty-Kendall and Mitra Bonshahi.
StoryCorps is a nationally ideal company that gives people the chance to interview friends and dear about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Congress Library , so that the participants leave a legacy for future generations. Read more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org .