There will be a special guest at Sunday's VMAs who has nothing to do with music, and everything to do with honoring the life of a woman who was devoted to social justice. According to Entertainment Weekly, Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, will present at the VMAs. Bro will be handing out the Best Fight Against the System award, a category that was added this year by MTV to reflect "the audience's passion and activism surrounding environmental justice, immigration, LGBTQ equality, and racial justice." Heyer lost her life when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.
In the days following her daughter's death, Bro has been dedicated to continuing to fight for the causes Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, was passionate about. She set up The Heather Heyer Foundation in her daughter's name in order to provide scholarships to those seeking degrees or certification in, but not limited to, law, paralegal studies, social work, social justice, and education. At the memorial service for Heyer, Bro said in her eulogy, "You tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what, you just magnified her."
The magnification of Heyer's voice will continue on Sunday, when Bro takes the stage to hand out an award that is all about celebrating activism through music. In a statement to EW, Bro said,
"Since my daughter Heather Heyer’s death two weeks ago I have committed myself to making her death count. That is why I am launching the Heather Heyer Foundation. I can think of no better platform to promote this foundation to the world than at the MTV’s Video Music Awards. It’s going to be an honor for me to be presenting the Best Fight the System award there tonight."
Having Bro present such an important award is a remarkable way to honor Heyer's memory. It also ensures that everyone watching at home will continue to be inspired by the amazing woman who lost her life while protesting hatred.
Bro told People she was initially skeptical when MTV invited her to present the Best Fight Against the System award. "When they first asked me I hadn’t realized how far-reaching Heather’s message had been," she said in her interview with People. However, she also said she now realizes just how much Heyer's story has resonated with the world. Bro said,
"But now I’ve realized this is bigger than Heather, this is bigger than me. This is something that touches people everywhere, the idea that you can stand up and be counted, that you have it within you to be that hero, so I feel like I have an obligation to share that."
Having Bro at the VMAs is one more way Heyer's passion for social justice will live on. No matter who walks away with the first ever Best Fight Against the System award, the true winner of the night will be the legacy of a woman who died fighting for love and equality.