Members of the Charlottesville, Virginia, community pulled the vigil off quietly without publicizing on social media, CNN reported. This was done in an effort to ensure safety. Emails, texts and word of mouth helped organizers stage the event, which saw members of the community holding candles.
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed on Saturday when she was standing in a crowd counter-protesting a white supremacist rally. The original rally was held in response to the planned removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate army during the U.S. Civil War.
Photos: White Nationalist Rally Turns Violent
Supporters of that rally, including neo-Nazis, members of the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists, clashed with anti-racism demonstrators, and several confrontations heated up quickly, turning into street brawls. One supporter then reportedly rammed his car into some of the anti-racism demonstrators, injuring 19 and killing Heyer. Two Virginia state troopers also lost their lives Saturday when their helicopter, used for crowd control, crashed.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” said Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, during the vigil.
“Let’s find that spark of conviction,” Bro told the hundreds who gathered to remember her daughter. “Find what’s wrong and say to yourselves, ‘What can I do to make a difference?'”
Police identified the driver as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, who was arrested and charged with murder, malicious wounding and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He’s been described by those that know him as being an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
The vigil came after President Donald Trump blamed both sides for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville. His initial delay and later condemnation of all parties involved has so far resulted in widespread criticism, as well as the disbandment of two of his business councils after multiple CEOs resigned in protest.