Heather Heyer’s death is not an excuse to further perpetuate white supremacy and the erasure of women of color.
By Arielle Gray
I rolled my eyes over the outrage splashed across all social media outlets when white nationalists descended onto the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville. The scene wasn’t anything new or surprising to us — to Black Americans, this insidious imagery is emblematic of our country’s racist history. We’ve all either seen or witnessed torches in the night, white supremacist gatherings or outward displays of hate. Our recent political climate has emboldened white supremacists to finally take off their hoods.
Counter-protesters filled the city the next day to denounce the hundreds of white nationalists expected to gather in Charlottesville for the “Unite The Right” rally — Heather Heyer was among them when James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, drove into a crowd of protesters and killed Heather. Fields, was later arrested and charged with second-degree homicide among a myriad of other counts. It wasn’t long after that Heather Heyer’s name started trending under the #SayHerName hashtag.
Heather Heyer was an activist. A daughter. She was loved. She put her life on the line to uplift the disenfranchised and to denounce white nationalism and used her white privilege to both educate her fellow white people and to condemn anti-blackness. Heather was what a lot of white women should be. Heather Heyer should be honored, as all activists who’ve lost their lives on the line, should be. But we don’t need to use the #SayHerName hashtag to do it.
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