© 2023
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Susan Bro Reflects on Progress Since Her Daughter's Death


As the nation marks the third anniversary of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the mother of a woman killed during Unite the Right is reflecting on small steps forward and work that still needs to be done. 

Since the death of Heather Heyer on August 12th, 2017  Susan Bro has given dozens of speeches, established a scholarship fund in her daughter’s name and started a program to train young leaders, but as she heard the news of Black Americans being killed by police she knew there was more work to be done.

“I sat at my computer and just shook from anger and frustration," she recalls. "I just kept saying to my husband, ‘We could have stopped this,’ and then I realized that there had been other murders before Heather, and we didn’t pay any attention to those either. We might get riled up about it for a minute, and then we go right back to business as usual, and I’m hoping that doesn’t happen  this time.”

She urges Americans to have difficult conversations about race and to better understand the subject.

“We have to be able to answer people calmly and matter-of-factly, get our points across. Know your information. Be responsible to look things up.  Check facts.  Check the sources.  Are they reliable sources?  Are they heavily biased sources?” 

Bro celebrates the removal of racist statues but reminds us that’s only a first step, and that even after a presidential election the nation will be polarized, and it may take many years to change hearts and minds.  

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief