CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) — The Heather Heyer Memorial Way is closed for the day to give people space to stop and think.
NBC29 spent the day speaking to the people who were paying their respects.
“As someone who survived, it’s not just a topic of conversation for political gain or for the media. These are real people who are still living with the effects on a daily basis,” Anna said.
Five years later, people are back where an act of violence took the life of Heather Heyer and injured many others following the Unite the Right rally.
“You can’t allow people like the ones we saw on August 12 to organize without opposing them. They need people who are complicit and think it’s okay to stay home while they spread their hate. People didn’t stay home here on August 12 and a lot of people paid a heavy price for it, but we have to face these groups every day so it doesn’t keep coming back to another August 2017,” Community Care Volunteer Laura Sirgany said.
Art supplies, faith leaders, and people willing to listen stayed on the road all day.
“It’s really difficult as a survivor to feel overlooked, especially by people like the city government. The people who were supposed to protect us didn’t protect us that day, so we protect each other through community,” Anna said.
Some say the “community” still has a long way to go.
“There’s a lot of people who want to keep going and I think a lot of people just want to put some makeup on the works and just not take any action to address all the issues that the rally and opposition to the rally stirred up.” themselves,” said Jordan Leahy of Congregate Charlottesville. “If we just keep going and don’t learn the lessons we need to learn from how to support each other, how to protect each other, both systemically and interpersonally, then there’s nothing stopping it from happening again.”
A fund for survivors has been set up to support their ongoing needs which is linked here.
“By donating to the fund, you can tell your community members and the survivors that we care about you, that you are remembered and that you are still in our hearts,” Anna said.
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