Charlottesville: Heyer's mother address mourners

The mother of the woman who was killed while protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville has urged mourners at a memorial service to “make my child’s death worthwhile”.

Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old paralegal, was killed on Saturday after a car rammed into a crowd of anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators.

James Fields, the 20-year-old driver of the car, has been charged with murder.

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” said Heyer’s mother Susan Bro as she received a standing ovation from the hundreds who packed a downtown theatre on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Charlottesville attack – What, where and who?

“She paid attention. And she made a lot of us pay attention.

“I want this to spread. I don’t want this to die. This is just the beginning of Heather’s legacy.”

Heyer’s death – and President Donald Trump’s insistence that “both sides” bear responsibility for the violence – continued to reverberate across the country, triggering fury among many Americans and soul-searching about the state of race relations in the US.

The uproar has accelerated efforts in many cities to remove symbols of the Confederacy.

Heyer’s father, Mark Heyer, wearing a violet polo shirt and voice breaking with emotion, told the gathering how truly proud he was of his daughter.

“I came here today and I was overwhelmed by the rainbow of colour in this room,” he said. “That’s how Heather was.”

In the crowd were Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, US Senator Tim Kane and Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer.

Later on Wednesday, hundreds held lit candles and sang songs of love and fellowship in Charlottesville to remember Heyer at what was billed as a vigil for unity.