I wrestled with posting this here because I don’t think this ought to be a political issue. I don’t have any other way of publishing this in a public forum, save for a few letters to the editor I intend to write. Please forgive any smattering of self-promotion this post may or may not create. — Chris
I would like to see a permanent memorial designed and erected somewhere in honor of Heather Heyer. As anyone who has been paying attention should know, Heyer, a 32 year old paralegal, was killed by a neo-Nazi at an alt-right rally in Charlottesville this past weekend.
NPR posted an article about Heyer’s remembrance, where many family members and other people who knew her spoke about her dedication to social justice and change. Heyer’s grandfather said this about her as a child:
“In earlier years she wanted fairness. She wanted justice. She wanted everybody to get equal respect. And with an older brother, that got tough, because older brothers are going to get more privilege, you see, and she’d watch like a hawk and call that out … ‘Why can’t I do that?’ … We had a lot of fiery discussions. She wanted to understand your viewpoint; it didn’t seem right to her but she insisted on knowing your viewpoint.”
Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, spoke of Heyer’s commitment and how we could best remember her daughter:
“Here’s the message: Although Heather is a caring and compassionate person, so are a lot of you. A lot of you go that extra mile. … We know that what she did was achievable.
“We don’t all have to die. We don’t all have to sacrifice our lives. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what. You just magnified her.
“So here’s what I want to happen. You asked me what can you do, so many caring people … I want this to spread. I don’t want this to die. This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy. This is not the end of Heather’s legacy. You need to find in your heart that small spark of accountability: ‘What is there that I can do to make the world a better place, what injustice do I see and want to turn away?’ … You poke that finger at yourself like Heather would have done and you make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world.
“My child had a high school education. She was no saint; she was hard to raise because everything was a negotiation, but you know what? She was a firm believer in whatever she believed. And let’s do that. Let’s find that spark of conviction, let’s find in ourselves that action, let’s spread this. Let’s have the uncomfortable dialogue. It ain’t easy. … It’s not all about forgiveness. … The truth is we are going to have our differences. Let’s channel that difference … that anger, not into hate, not into violence … but into righteous action.
“The conversations have to happen. That’s the only way that we’re going to carry Heather’s spark through.”
I would like to see a permanent memorial to Heyer, whether a statue of her or something else, placed at the former location of one of the confederate statues. I am a lawyer, not a city planner or sculptor, and I have no idea how to go about raising money for this or approaching city leaders.
Given the words spoken about Heyer from her friends and family, it would be poetic justice to have a symbol of hate replaced with a memorial to a woman who died exercising her right to express her beliefs.
Does anyone out there have any experience with this? Contact me and lets talk.
Updated: 16 Aug 2017