Demonstrators: ‘We’re here to honor the life of Heather Heyer’

Posted at 8:00 PM, Aug 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-12 20:01:29-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- One year after a deadly white supremacist rally shook the city of Charlottesville, demonstrators came back to the city Sunday, marching through the streets and demanding change.

A massive law enforcement presence showed up to keep crowds under control.

Demonstrators continued to clash with law enforcement, chanting things like "Let us in, let us in," and "We're here to heal, we're here to heal," when police blocked the way.

Protesters said they came back to the city on the anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally to stand up against the violence and hatred expressed in last year's rally, and to remember the lives lost.

“This community was terrorized. That’s what it was -- a terrorist attack. Which took place here because we were standing up against white supremacy,” said Black Lives Matter organizer Jalane Schmidt.

The mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed in last year's rally, came to remember her daughter.

“I don’t want other mother’s to be in my spot. I don’t want other mothers to go through this," said Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, adding that she misses Heather's laugh the most.

She also thanked the troopers who gave their lives on that day.

"I’m very thankful for those troopers. It’s a sad bitterness that they lost their lives that day but thank God for their presence that day."

Katrina Turner and Rosia Parker were at the rally Sunday, and at the "Unite the Right" rally one year ago.

"All I want to do is say, 'Thank God I’m alive today,'" said Turner.

Parker recalled the moments the white-supremacist drove into a crowd.

"Yeah we was right there, right there. I mean it was like a movie, to actually watch her go into the air and to count the number of flips she had and watch her come down and then hit the ground. I mean it’s devastating," said Parker.

Demonstrators said their fighting for more than the injustices of last year. Parker said there's still a culture of racism in Charlottesville.

She and other demonstrators said they will continue to fight until something changes.

"No matter if we almost lost our life that day we’re going to continue this fight -- for as long as we can,” said Turner.

At least one demonstrator was arrested in Sunday's rally.

The 'Unite the Right' rally in August of 2017, which quickly turned violent, began amidst controversy regarding the removal of Confederate monuments. The 32-yar-old was killed when a car, driven by a white supremacist, slammed into counter-protestors. Two troopers were also killed when their helicopter crashed during the rallies. Dozens of others were injured.

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