The racialized violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend claimed one young woman's life — a 32-year-old legal professional was killed while participating in counter-protests against white supremacist actions. Now, a GoFundMe for Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer is raising thousands of dollars for her family, honoring the cause that she sacrificed her life for.
Heyer was killed Saturday at the "Unite the Right" rally near the University of Virginia after a man drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters. Over a dozen other people were injured, but Heyer ultimately succumbed to her wounds. One witness who recorded the crash called it "deliberate terrorism," which the Charlottesville Chief of Police reiterated during his press conference regarding Heyer's death. The suspect involved in the crash is now in custody.
Felicia Venita Correa, a friend of Heyer's, established the GoFundMe page on Sunday, the day after Heyer's death. The initial fundraising goal of $50,000 was met within hours, and the revised goal of $200,000 will likely be surpassed by the end of the day on Sunday. Correa wrote that she is in contact with Heyer's mother, and that all proceeds will go to the family when they are ready to accept them.
"She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her," Heyer's mother reportedly said of her death, according to the GoFundMe page.
Correa posted on the GoFundMe page that Heyer was a native of the Charlottesville area who graduated from high school about 35 minutes north of where she died. According to Heyer's employer, the Miller Law Group of Charlottesville, Heyer worked as a paralegal specializing in bankruptcy and "played an essential role in [her] department and the office as a whole."
Heyer's passion for social justice has resonated with the thousands of strangers and anonymous donors who have already given to her fundraiser. "This is but a small contribution to help with your expenses and loss but also a way of acknowledging that we shall remember Heather and fight on for what she lived and died for," one contributor wrote.
Two others have died in connection with the rally and counter-protests, state troopers Pilot Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. Cullen and Bates were en route to the scene of Heyer's death via helicopter when their chopper went down nearby. A separate GoFundMe page promising to give funds to the city of Charlottesville mentions Cullen and Bates, but there does not appear to be any specifically dedicated fundraising pages for the two law enforcement officers at this time.