Charlottesville victim’s mother: ‘So much healing to do’

APTOPIX Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Mourners embrace each other as they remember Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

A couple embrace as they participate in prayers at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

APTOPIX Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Demonstrators against racism march along city streets as they mark the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

APTOPIX Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Demonstrators listen to speakers on the campus of the University of Virginia in during a rally marking the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

An anti-fascist demonstrator marches on the campus of the University of Virginia during a rally marking the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

A group of anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter demonstrators march in front of the Rotunda on the campus of the University of Virginia in anticipation of the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Charlie Spearman, foreground, and Jae Em Cafico kneel at a memorial dedicated to Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The city of Charlottesville plans to mark Sunday's anniversary of a deadly gathering of white supremacists with a rally against racial hatred. (Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

Charlottesville One Year Later

Ahmed Mohamed writes a message on the ground of the alleyway where a memorial for Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, is located in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. The city of Charlottesville plans to mark Sunday's anniversary of a deadly gathering of white supremacists with a rally against racial hatred. (Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

Charlottesville One Year Later

Emily Filler attempts to dissuade state police from advancing on students rallying on the grounds of the University of Virginia on the anniversary of the

Charlottesville One Year Later

Groups protest in Freedom Plaza with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on the one year anniversary of Charlottesville's

Charlottesville White House Rally

Demonstrators against racism march along city streets as they mark the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Demonstrators against racism march along city streets as they mark the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Demonstrators confront police at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

A demonstrator confronts police at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

A couple hold hands as the participate in prayers at the intersection where Heather Heyer was killed last year as they mark the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. On that day, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Susan Bro, right, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, embraces a supporter after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Last year, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

A counterprotester is led away by police after being arrested in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. The group of protesters marked the one year anniversary of the Unite the right rally in Charlottesville. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Susan Bro, center back to camera, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, embraces a supporter after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Last year, white supremacists and counterprotesters clashed in the city streets before a car driven into a crowd struck and killed Heyer. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Susan Bro, center, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, and her husband, Kim, right, speak to supporters after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Bro said there's still

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Members of a SWAT team keep an eye on demonstrators marking the one year anniversary of the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

Susan Bro, center right, mother of Heather Heyer who was killed during last year's Unite the Right rally, and her husband, Kim, center left, speak to supporters after laying flowers at the spot her daughter was killed in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. Bro said there's still

Charlottesville One Year Later Rally

White nationalist Jason Kessler arrives at the Vienna metro station in Vienna, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. White nationalists are gathering in Washington on the first anniversary of their rally in Charlottesville. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Charlottesville White House Rally

White nationalist Jason Kessler arrives at the Vienna metro station in Vienna, Va., Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. White nationalists are gathering there to travel to Washington on the first anniversary of their rally in Charlottesville. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Charlottesville White House Rally

Charlottesville victim’s mother: ‘So much healing to do’

by By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and SARAH RANKIN , Associated Press12 August 2018 16:31-04:00
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The mother of a woman killed when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally last summer said Sunday there’s much healing to do a year after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Heather Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, laid flowers at a makeshift memorial at the site of the attack in downtown Charlottesville. With a crowd gathered around her, she thanked them for coming to remember her daughter but also acknowledged the dozens of others injured and the two state troopers killed when a helicopter crashed that day.

“There’s so much healing to do,” Bro said. “We have a huge racial problem in our city and in our country. We have got to fix this or we’ll be right back here in no time.”

The vigil was one in a series of largely peaceful community events held in Charlottesville over the weekend to mark the one-year anniversary of the rally, one of the largest gatherings of white nationalists and other far-right extremists in a decade.

Some 115 miles (185 kilometers) away in Washington, Jason Kessler, the principal organizer of last year’s “Unite the Right” event, led what he called a white civil rights rally Sunday afternoon in Lafayette Square in front of the White House.

President Donald Trump wasn’t home — he has been at his golf club in New Jersey for more than a week on a working vacation.

Kessler said in his permit application that he expected 100 to 400 people to participate in his event, though the number appeared it might be far lower. Just before 4 p.m., a contingent of about 30 white nationalists began marching through the streets.

Counterprotesters assembled ahead of the rally’s scheduled start vastly outnumbered Kessler’s crowd. By midafternoon, more than 1,000 people had already gathered in Freedom Plaza, also near the White House, to oppose Kessler’s demonstration and they too planned to march to Lafayette Square.

Makia Green, who represents the Washington branch of Black Lives Matter, told Sunday’s crowd that: “We know from experience that ignoring white nationalism doesn’t work.”

Earlier this month, Facebook stunned and angered counterprotest organizers when it disabled their Washington event’s page, saying it and others had been created by “bad actors” misusing the social media platform. The company said at the time that the page may be linked to an account created by Russia’s Internet Research Agency — a so-called troll farm that has sown discord in the U.S. — but counterprotesters said it was an authentic event they worked hard to organize.

Government and police officials in Washington have expressed confidence the city can manage the events without violence; the mayor and police chief have promised a massive security mobilization to keep protesters and counterprotesters apart.

Earlier in the day in Charlottesville, more than 200 people gathered in a park to protest racism and mark the anniversary. The group sang songs and listened to speakers, among them Courtney Commander, a friend of Heyer’s who was with her when she was killed.

“She is with me today, too,” Commander said.

Last year on Aug. 12, hundreds of white nationalists — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members — descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the city’s decision decided to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

Fighting broke out between attendees and counterprotesters. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but a car later barreled into the crowd of peaceful counterprotesters.

A state police helicopter later crashed, killing Lt. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates.

Law enforcement officials faced blistering criticism in the aftermath of last year’s rally for what was perceived as a passive response to the violence that unfolded. A review by a former U.S. attorney found a lack of coordination between state and city police and an operational plan that elevated officer safety over public safety.

The anniversary weekend was marked by a much heavier police presence, which also drew criticism from some activists.

At one point Sunday, demonstrators marched through Charlottesville, chanting, “Cops and Klan go hand in hand,” and “Will you protect us?”

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For the complete AP coverage marking one year since the rally in Charlottesville, visit https://apnews.com/tag/CharlottesvilleAYearLater

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Rankin reported from Richmond. Associated Press writer Ashraf Khalil contributed to this report from Washington.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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