Heather Heyer Memorial Way offers a space for people to reflect

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Heather Heyer Memorial Way is closed for the day to give people space to stop and reflect.

NBC29 spent the day talking with the people paying their respects.

“As somebody who survived, it’s kind of like, this isn’t just a talking point for political gain or for media. These are real people who still live with the effects daily,” Anna said.

Five years later, people are back at the spot where an act of violence took Heather Heyer’s life and left many others injured after the Unite the Right rally.

“You can’t let people like the ones we saw on August 12th organize without countering them. They need people to be complicit, and to think that staying home while they spread their hate is okay. People didn’t stay home on August 12th here, and many people paid a huge price for that, but we need to counter these groups every day, so that it doesn’t come to another August 2017, over and over again,” Community Care Volunteer Laura Sirgany said.

Art supplies, faith leaders, and people ready to listen stayed on the road all day.

“As a survivor it’s really difficult to feel overlooked, especially by like the city government. The people who were supposed to protect us didn’t protect us that day, so the way that we protect each other is through community,” Anna said.

Some say that “community” still has a ways to go.

“There are a lot of people who who want to move on, and I think a lot of people just want to put some makeup over the works, and just don’t want to take action to address all the issues that that the that the rally and the resistance to the rally stirred up,” Jordan Leahy with Congregate Charlottesville said. “If we just move on and don’t learn the lessons that we need to learn from it, like how to support each other, how to keep each other safe, both systemically and interpersonally, then nothing prevents it from happening again.”

A fund for survivors was created to help their ongoing needs, linked here.

“By giving to the fund, you can tell your community members and the survivors that we care about you, we remember you, and that you’re still in our hearts,” Anna said.

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