CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Members of the Charlottesville community are standing in solidarity with a woman still recovering from the trauma of the car attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens of others on August 12, 2017.
On Tuesday night, on the eve of August 12, a vigil was held on the downtown mall near Honorary Heather Heyer Way, in support of Tay Washington.
It’s been three years, but Emma Washington says her daughter Tay still feels pain.
“This is the first time that she’s been willing to say ‘this happened to me and I need help on all levels,‘” Emma Washington said.
Tay cannot bring herself to the site that changed her life.
“When we found out what she was good at she gave it all she had,” Emma Washington said, describing how Tay was certified to become an EMT before August 12. “Her teachers said she carried her book around like a Bible.”
The certified EMT is now a survivor of the deadly violence that followed the Unite the Right rally on August 12.
“This evening we’re focusing on the quality of life that was lost,” said Myra Anderson, who helped organize the vigil. “It’s necessary to come here and stand here and stand in support of the survivors who three years later are still struggling for normalcy in their life.”
Tay Washington still has not been able to work doing what she loves since that day and is still hurting from the repercussions.
“That’s why she can’t focus, this is why she gets irritated really fast, this is why it’s hard for her to articulate her words, or gets stuck,” said Emma Washington. “Because of traumatic brain injury.”
On the eve of the anniversary, Emma Washington is bringing her daughter’s voice back to downtown Charlottesville with a lesson.
“She would say ‘don’t look at someone and judge what you have not gone through,’” Emma said, “‘because you have no idea what that other person is going through regardless of what it is.‘”
Emma says Tay has been fighting her battles with prayer and family help, but she needs the community to help mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. A GoFundMe page entitled ‘Healing for Tay’ was posted a day before the vigil.