By Hayden Wright
Two weeks ago, Heather Heyer was killed in the racial protests that engulfed Charlottesville when a man drove his car into a crowd of demonstrators. Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, appeared at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards to pay tribute to her daughter and recognize the nominees for Best Fight Against the System. Bro also announced the creation of the Heather Heyer Foundation, a social justice organization founded in her daughter’s memory.
“Only 15 days ago, my daughter Heather was killed protesting racism,” Bro said. “I miss her, but I know she’s here tonight. I have been deeply moved to see people across the world find inspiration in her courage.”
Bro called members of the audience (at Inglewood’s The Forum arena and at home) to join the fight against oppression and for social justice.
“I want people to know that Heather never marched alone,” Bro said. “She was always joined by people of every race and every background across this country.”
Bro was introduced by Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, a nephew several generations removed from Confederate leader Robert E. Lee. Statues of the rebel general fueled tensions in Charlottesville and elsewhere—and sparked an escalating debate about equality and the legacy of slavery. The pastor called racism “America’s original sin” and urged viewers to vocally reject white supremacy.
“We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in January and especially Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville,” he said.
Each nominee in the Best Fight Against the System category was declared a winner for shedding light on the many causes and battle fronts where light must be shone.