His voice at times shaking, the father of Heather Heyer, who died demonstrating against a white supremacy rally in the Charlottesville terror attack Saturday, said he forgives the man who killed her: “He don't know no better."
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in a crowd of anti-racism demonstrators when a Nazi sympathizer purposefully plowed his car through the protest. The man who killed her was at the white supremacy rally in support of President Donald Trump, according to his mother.
“I’m proud of her,” Mark Heyer, the victim’s father, told Florida Today in a video interview. “I’m proud of her for standing up. She had more courage than I did. She had a stubborn backbone, that if she thought she was right she would stand there and defy you. If I understand her, she wanted to do it peacefully and with a fierceness of heart that comes with her conviction.”
Heyer said he hopes his daughter’s death will lead to a time of reflection as a nation, and hopes everyone can forgive each other — himself included.
“I just think what the Lord said on the cross. Lord forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
In the immediate aftermath of the event, Trump refused to condemn white supremacy specifically. Amidst outcry, the president eventually did denounce the specific neo-Nazi hate groups at the rally, and said the Department of Justice would launch an investigation into the domestic terror attack that killed Heyer and left more than a dozen others injured. For many, Trump’s comments were too little, too late. Trump returned to sharing messages from alt-right activists Monday night, indicating his continued desire to support a white voter base that espouses far-right and bigoted views.
Nevertheless, Heyer’s father said he hopes there will be positive change in people’s thinking.
“My daughter was a strong woman who had passionate opinions about the equality of everyone,” he said. “My thoughts about all of this stuff is that people need to stop hatin’ and they need to forgive each other.”