Women Like Heather Heyer

Their work is rooted in a deep sense of optimism that there can be real change because they are brave enough to lead it.
08/14/2017 12:33 pm ET
Scott Olson via Getty Images

So many of us waited all day yesterday to see if we knew the person who was killed in Charlottesville. Her name was Heather Heyer. Heather’s mom has reportedly stated, “She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her.”

I didn’t know Heather Heyer but I’ve know many women like Heather Heyer in my time learning and working in predominately white places and spaces in Virginia.

A woman like Heather Heyer was up before me yesterday to check in to see if I had what I needed to get through the day.

A woman like Heather Heyer strategized with me for an hour about what to do for our Virginia students when they return to campus soon.

A woman like Heather Heyer reminded me that I needed to go take a walk.

A woman like Heather Heyer automatically responds to my email and edits for me every time one of these crises erupts.

A woman like Heather Heyer is working this weekend so that I can have a break.

Women like Heather Heyer have organized with me, gone to bat against administrations and policies with me, and spoken out against hatred.

Women like Heather Heyer have organized with me, gone to bat against administrations and policies with me, and spoken out against hatred.

They’ve filled my classes and teacher workshops and have created so much intellectual joy. Their work is rooted in a deep sense of optimism that there can be real change because they are brave enough to lead it.

I’ve admired them because they often are going directly against friends and family, even their own parents and siblings, to stand up for what they believe. I’ve offered them gratitude and a sense of refuge when they’ve stood alone. But it is still something to marvel.

Sometimes they’re just the one that asks you to lunch. That walks down the street with you.

These brave women will keep her legacy alive.

Heather Heyer’s facebook cover photo read: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” If you’re not like Heather Heyer yet, you still have time to honor her memory.

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