REST IN PEACE
Charlottesville Victim Heather Heyer Told People in Crisis: ‘It’s Going to Be OK’
Before she was cut down by hate, she was helping people through bankruptcy. “She had a big heart for people,” her boss remembers.
For the last five years, she worked at Miller Law Group, a law firm that helps people going through bankruptcy. The firm’s president, Larry Miller, told The Daily Beast that Heyer had a gift for helping people facing financial disaster.
“She’d hold their hand and make sure they would get the stuff in timely, that way we wouldn’t have any issues,” Miller said. “She was really good that.”
Heyer gathered and entered data for people filing for bankruptcy – a complex process that required expert attention to detail. As part of that work, she often helped comfort people facing fear and uncertainty.
“She was compassionate,” Miller continued. “A lot of times, people that are in a financial situation have gotten there not really because what they have done, but because of some of the circumstances around that. They a lot of times are embarrassed about having to do something like a bankruptcy, and Heather was always saying, ‘It’s going to be OK.’”
“She had a big heart for people,” he added.
Miller said he took her out for lunch last week to celebrate her five-year anniversary with the firm.
“I gave her a bonus and told her she was really important to me and that she was a big part of the family at the firm here,” he said. “And she started to cry and she gave me a big hug and said, ‘You know, this is really good. This is really really good.’”
Heyer, 32, was the only fatality in a Saturday afternoon car attack that left at least 19 other anti-racist protesters injured. The protesters were marching up a narrow street when a Dodge Challenger driven by James A. Field Jr. of Ohio, who had been photographed with a far-right group earlier that day, struck Heyer head-on.
Miller said she cared deeply about equality, and that it showed in her work.
“That’s what we do here, if people come in and they’re in a financial situation, we don’t look down on them. We know they need to have help, we know they need to be told that they’re not bad.”
And that’s what Heyer did, Miller said.
“She loved it,” he said. “She was so particular about each one. She just wanted to get them all right. I think that’s the thing that stands out: She wanted everything right.”
One person Heyer helped was Felicia Venita Correa, who had known her since they went to middle school together.
"Heather and I grew in in the same subdivision, Enderly Acres, in Ruckersville. We also rode the same bus, attended the same school. She recently helped me with my bankruptcy,” Correa said. “She took extra time to stop my garnishments and recover garnished funds."
"She was bubbly and loved to laugh,” Correa added. “She made it a point to always stand for people who were being oppressed."
In October, Heyer shared a video on Facebook pushing back on the alt-right’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. “Islam is to ISIS as Christianity is to the KKK,” the caption read.
Correa said as soon as she learned Heyer had been killed, she started planning a Sunday evening vigil and fundraiser on GoFundMe.
“I have made her mother the beneficiary of the funds. They will be used in any way that family wishes,” she said.
President Donald Trump tweeted condolences to Heyer, but Correa said she believed he is not sincere.
"I personally do not believe that Trump is moved, meaning that it doesn't seem to have really fazed him. He knew that ‘Make America Great Again’ would be used in this way,” Correa said.
— Kelly Weill contributed reporting.