Susan Bro provided a moment of extraordinary grace as she mourns the murder of her daughter, Heather Heyer, by trying to heal the divide in the nation after the Charlottesville terrorist attack. While the political debate over Donald Trump’s responses to the violence continues, Bro reached out to thank Trump for his latest statement, which Bro describes as a “comfort.”
Perhaps this could provide a new focus for everyone — a way to reset our attention back on the actual problem, rather than on the quality of rhetorical responses to it. That certainly seems to be what Bro wants:
Susan Bro, mother of Charlottesville attack victim Heather Heyer, thanks Pres. Trump for "denouncing those who promote violence and hatred" pic.twitter.com/E46OnwE5fW
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 14, 2017
Bro tried focusing the nation’s attention to healing even before Trump’s statement. In an interview the day after her daughter’s death, Bro told NBC News that “hate does not fix the world“:
“She was there with her friends, and she was trying to simply cross the street as the movement was breaking up that day, and she was plowed down by a young man who was intent on spreading hate and thought hate would fix the world,” Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, told NBC News. “And hate does not fix the world.” …
“I wouldn’t say that she was an activist,” Albro added. “But I would say that she felt strongly about certain things and had no problem standing up and showing support.”
It’s not an endorsement of anyone’s positions, and should not be used as such. It is simply an act of grace for a nation that sorely needs it. Her father Mark Heyer also offered words of healing and love, even as he mourned his daughter:
“She had more courage than I did,” Mark Heyer said of Heather Heyer. “She had a stubborn backbone that if she thought she was right, she would stand there and defy you. If I understand her, she would want to do it peacefully.”
Even though he is still in shock over his daughter’s death, Mark Heyer said that people on all sides need to learn to forgive each other.
“I include myself in that in forgiving the guy who did this,” he said. “I just think about what the Lord said on the cross, ‘Forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.’ … I hope that her life and what has transpired changes people’s hearts,” he said.
We can all certainly hope so, and be thankful for the grace shown by Heather Heyer’s family as they grieve. Keep them — and all of us — in prayer.
Here’s the full statement from Trump. The transcript can be found at NBC News.