CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- While her daughter was quiet, Susan Bro is not.
Bro was taught to project her voice for church plays at the age of three – the word of the Lord echoing from one side of the house to the other. The 61-year-old not so subtly rejected phone calls from the president of the United States, multiple times, and wasn’t afraid to say so on national television.
Now in the aftermath of American carnage in Charlottesville, Bro survives the loss of her daughter, Heather Heyer, by carrying on Heyer’s legacy – making her voice heard by standing up to racial injustice.
But in the quiet that falls in the room after a speaking engagement, in the exhaustion that follows a rally, a painful reality consumes a mother who fought tirelessly for a year: Bro’s voice is only heard because her daughter is gone.
“It was agonizing for me to accept that reality,” Bro said in an interview Wednesday. “It had to be her, for people to care. It had to be how she died, for people to listen.”
Bro grows stronger through the work of the Heather Heyer Foundation – the non-profit that now awards scholarships to the next generation of peaceful activists.
But she fears the country still has not grown past the vitriol and violence of last summer, as white nationalists are poised to march on Washington Sunday afternoon.
“It's hard and dirty work to get to where we need to be,” Bro said. “And I don't know how much the country has the stomach for it, in the near-term.”