By Green Onion of The Green Onion Blog
It has been a while since Michael asked if I would care to add a post to his continuing New American Resistance series. First off, of course I was honoured. I understood that he wanted to add perspectives and fresh views to his important series but, what the heck do you write that Michael doesn’t word more elegantly already. As a Canadian, do I add my voice to the resistance with my outside views on President Clump? Do I share what is important for us north of the border to pay attention to? I didn’t know, I still kind of don’t…
This weekend a protest rally was put on in Charlottesville, Virginia by white nationalist, right-wing groups, and what most of us would refer to as Nazi’s. I don’t need to get deep into it, most of us have already seen as much as we can stomach of the disgusting display. Needless to say, it upset me. It felt like such a blemish in everything the world has been working towards in human rights and equality.
Still, I wasn’t sure where to direct my opinions. I didn’t know, of all the atrocities, where to put my voice. I was speechless. The hate, the violence, the lack of human decency, it was all too much to face, and I had a rough time getting to sleep on Saturday night.
Sunday morning I opened Twitter, like most every day, to catch up with the world. One of the first images I saw was the now widely circulated portraits of Heather Heyer. 32-year-old Heather was struck by a car driven by young Neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields Jr., that slammed through crowds of counterprotesters during Saturday’s events. The scene happened to be one of the stomach turning videos that disturbed me so much the night before. Now, there was a face to the crime. The murder. The act of hate and terror.
I didn’t read much about Heather Heyer. I didn’t have to. I looked at that picture and I felt for her. She reminded me of my girlfriend, I looked in her eyes and I thought of my daughter, my mother, my niece, my cousins, my friends, my neighbors, how it could be any one, any time, standing up for their own virtues. Heather was like any of us- in fact, upon further look, her Twitter page was plastered with geek material, she was very much one of us. Someone who enjoyed the simple things in life, and geeked out as much as Michael, myself, or most of you reading this (she was a Trekkie, but that’s okay). Heather was 32, a legal assistant, she was a daughter, she helped those that needed it, and she was very outspoken about what she believed was right. She was beautiful.
On Saturday, as the alt-right, and Neo-Nazi’s were flocking the streets of Charlottesville, Heather Heyer could have been anywhere. She could have been at home, her car, putting extra hours in at work, but when she saw what was happening, she put her life aside to stand up against the hate. Reports were everywhere of violence, and Heather Heyer stood up for justice, equality, and compassion. She was beautiful.
I took those images, thoughts, and moments, and I decided that when I need to I will stand up, for me and for Heather Heyer.
Later Sunday evening, I came across another image of Heather and when I opened it up I was in shock. The picture was attached to an article for an online magazine called the Daily Stormer written by Andrew Anglin, the piece was soullessly titled: “Heather Heyer: Woman Killed by Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut” … I was so angry! I am not the type that angers easily, it takes a lot, but this made me angry to the point I wanted to throw my phone, or break something close to me. All I wanted to do was contact the “author” of the article and give him a piece of my mind. I wanted to sling my anger at him, and insult him for anything I could. As I got as far as finding his profile I realized I didn’t want to add to the hate. There has been enough hate this weekend for a long while. And a message Heather’s mother had shared was “I don’t want her death to be a focus for more hatred. I want her death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion.” And so, I write. If he can write about his hate and be so angry at her, I will write about my love, and respect for the beautiful Heather Heyer.
And, Andrew Anglin, you dodged my rage, as I leave this one to karma and justice, and I’ll throw on a clip of ‘What Goes Around, Comes Around’ by the Beastie Boys just for you. I hope that at some point you can stop and think about the way you talked about an innocent woman who was as passionate about her beliefs as you are, more so, as she has given her life for them. The way you talked about her hurt many people, she never got the chance to enjoy the wonders of being a mother, she may or may not have been self conscious about a weight that only terrible people would call fat, her life was cut short because a group you support wanted to oppose the removal of a statue. She was beautiful, and will be remembered as a hero no matter how hard you try to slander her name.
Meanwhile, the Resistance just grew stronger! We have lost our first life in this battle. And I have found a voice in the aftermath of this needless violence. If more and more right-wing groups are going to believe they have strength because of an unintelligent president, than we can match them with our own strength of doing, being, and saying what is right!
Say her name, Heather Heyer. Remember her by doing something good. She stood up for what she believed in, and she did it without resorting to hate, anger or violence, she did it without driving a car through a crowd of people. She made her friends, family, and us, proud. Next time Michael calls on you for a simple phone call, don’t ignore it, add your voice for heroes like Heather. The Resistance will be stronger because she was beautiful.
Thanks for having me Michael, I’m glad to have you here sharing what is right and important. You, like Heather, gave me strength to add my voice.
10 thoughts on “New American Resistance – Heather Heyer: Victim of Charlottesville Vehicular Hate Crime was a Beautiful Hero”
Beautifully stated, Green. We can’t just sit by for, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
LikeLiked by 3 people
EVERY day approx 9 people are killed by distracted drivers in the USA.
270 deaths per month. 3285 fatalities caused by distracted drivers per year.
It is interesting how 1 death causes this hysteria. More people are killed
by distracted drivers than domestic terrorism. We can’t pick & choose
which fatalities gather national attention on a 24 hour news cycle.
Sensationalism will always trump facts & statistics in main stream media.
While what you say is true, this woman was killed by an evidently careless white supremacist whose only intentions were to hurt people. There was intent to this fatality, and given that it was recorded and posted all over the internet, it makes sense that the mass media, which primarily reports what is trending amongst the general pop nowadays, reported this incident. That being said, the life of Heather isn’t more valuable than the said fatalities you listed simply because it was given more notice.
LikeLiked by 3 people
No one denies that sensationalism will, at times, distort facts and figures but the reality here is that a white supremacist drove a car into a crowd of people resulting in the death of Ms. Heyer and injury of 19 others. Discussing her death/their injuries, and the events before/after regarding the “Unite the Right” rally is hardly an engagement in sensationalism. It is, I would argue, an engagement in reporting the news, news that is relevant to the entire nation as it details the very insidious re-emergence of white supremacy, a white supremacy that is directly responsible for Ms. Heyer’s death.
LikeLiked by 3 people
LikeLiked by 3 people
Moving and beautifully written. I try to stay out of politics on WP and keep myself as much about Star Wars as possible – but I can’t say that this past weekend didn’t make me really angry either. I keep looking at our country and thinking, “But…why? How are we still filled with this hatred all these years later? Why can’t we love, accept, and bring healing to this torn place?”
America IS great. It’s always BEEN great. It doesn’t need to be made great again. As a daughter of two immigrants, I am constantly reminded by them of the opportunities that America provides that is not available anywhere else. But, at the same time, our history is so sordid and it seeps into our daily lives and it’s saddening. And this past weekend was a perfect example of this.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Amen. I couldn’t agree more Kiri. Where is that road to love, acceptance, and healing? It has to be here somewhere – allowing us to be what we can be – but finding it (and maintaining the courage to keep looking for it) can be difficult and discouraging struggle.
LikeLiked by 1 person
If Star Wars teaches us anything, it teaches us that we can do the right thing over and over and over and not give up. As long as there is 1 person to keep loving and trying to heal, it will make a difference.
LikeLiked by 2 people