One day before she would be mowed down by a white nationalist while protesting against racism and hate, Heather Heyer posted on Facebook, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. A 32 –year-old paralegal from Virginia, she was at a peaceful counter protest against the white supremacists bearing Nazi symbols and tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va., angry that a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was to be taken down, when a white nationalist plowed his car into a crowd of people, injuring about 19 people and killing Heyer. She was one of three casualties of the violence in Virginia, along with Virginia State Police Lt. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates, who died in a helicopter crash after the protest, according to Newsweek.
“Heather Heyer was murdered while protesting against hate,” Heyer’s friend Felicia Correa wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help Heyer’s family. “She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her,” Correa told the The New York Daily.
A candlelit vigil for Heyer has been planned for 7 p.m. Sunday in Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park, where alt-right protesters gathered like a mob chanting and bearing torches on Friday.
In the wake of Heyer’s death, there was an outpouring of emotion and messages from her loved ones and from strangers.
“She always stands up for what she believes in and we had spoken about mixed race couples and families,” Heyer’s childhood friend Lauren Moon told USA Today.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer spoke of the loss to the community. Our hearts are grieving right now. Three people died who didn’t need to die,” he said.
Since a GoFundMe page was set up in Heyer’s honor late Saturday, nearly $100,000 has been raised.
Police have identified the driver who killed Heyer as 20-year-old James Fields Jr. Hours before he drove his car into a crowd of people he was seen protesting with the Vanguard America white nationalist group, according to Newsweek.