Just days after his daughter was senselessly mowed down by a hateful motorist in Charlottesville, the father of 32-year-old Heather Heyer has chosen to forgive her killer. In an emotional new interview, Mark Heyer reflected on his daughter’s life and invoked the Bible when explaining why he believes we must learn to love and forgive one another.
“My thoughts about all of this stuff is people need to stop hating. They need to forgive each other… I think of what the Lord said on the cross, ‘Lord forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing,’” Heyer said humbly. “I include myself in that in forgiving the guy who did this. He don’t know no better.”
On Saturday, Heather, a paralegal who is being remembered as someone who always stood up against “any kind of discrimination,” died after a car driven by 20-year-old suspect James Alex Fields Jr. rammed into her and a group of counter-protestors who had convened near Emancipation Park in Charlottesville. Fields, a white nationalist, was in Virginia to attend the cancelled “Unite the Right” rally when he carried out the savage attack that killed Heather and injured 19 others. As Faithwire reported, Heather was laid to rest on Wednesday in a service that was broadcast live by news networks around the country.
In the interview, Heyer remembers his daughter as a “strong woman,” who was “passionate” about equality and genuinely “tried to stand up for that.”
“With her, it wasn’t lip service. It was real,” he said of Heather’s quest for justice. “It was something that she wanted to share with everyone.”
He was overcome with emotion as he described how “proud” he was of her for standing up for what she believed in. While Heyer admitted Heather had a “stubborn backbone” that meant she never backed down from an argument in which she believed she was right, he said she only sought fairness.
“She had more courage than I did,” he said. “If she thought she was right, she would stand there and defy you. But if I understand her, she wanted to do it peacefully and with a fierceness of heart that comes with her conviction.”
Refusing to believe that his daughter died in vain, Heyer explained that he hopes this tragedy will encourage people of all backgrounds and beliefs to reconsider any preconceived notions or judgments and reach out to one another.
“I hope that her life and what has transpired changes people’s hearts… their thinking, their understanding of their neighbor,” he said. “We just need to forgive each other. And I hope that’s what comes out of all this.”
“Think about it, you can fight all you want and cuss and do all that stuff, but when you take your last breath, it’s over. It’s done,” he continued. “You’re going to take away what a person has and everything else they’re going to have. There is no more. Not here.”
(H/T: Hello Christian)