Florida Today interviewed Mark Heyer, the father of Heather Heyer, a victim of the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this past week.
Heather, in counter-protest of the racist rally, was killed when a car was driven into a crowd of protestors at the rally, killing her upon impact and injuring 19 others.
"My daughter was a strong woman that had passionate opinions about the equality of everyone—and she tried to stand up for that,"said Mark Heyer. "With her, it wasn't lip service. It was real."
According to reports, James Alex Fields Jr. was the driver of the vehicle and a supporter of Nazi ideals. Fields faces second-degree murder, malicious wounding and hit-and-run charges.
Heyer spoke out about the loss of his daughter.
"People need to stop hating, and they need to forgive each other. And I include myself in that, in forgiving the guy that did this," he said. "He doesn't know [any] better. You know, I just think of what the Lord said on the cross. Lord forgive him, they don't know what they're doing."
As it pained Heyers to hold back tears, he continued, "You know, my daughter's life—she's …I'm proud of her for standing up. She had more courage than I did. She had more courage than I did. She had a stubborn backbone. She thought she was right. She would stand there and defy you."
"But if I understand her," he added, "she wanted to do it peacefully and with a fierceness of heart that comes with her conviction."
Recently, Susan Bro, Heather's mother also gave a statement.
"It was important to her to speak up for people that she felt were not being heard, to speak up when injustices were happening," Bro said, "and she saw in the lives of many of her African-American friends particularly and her gay friends that equal rights were not being given."
Heyer gave this powerful message of love and his daughter's legacy in closing remarks:
"I hope that her life and what has transpired changes people's hearts," Mark Heyer said. "You can fight all you want and fuss and cuss and do all that stuff, but when you take your last breath, it's over. It's done! He stated. "You're going to take away what a person has and everything else they're going to have. There is no more — not here, you know," he added. "And that's — that's pretty much all I got, brother."
The federal authorities are investigating the fatal car attack on the anti-white nationalists.
Heather Heyer was 32 years old.