The MTV Video Music Awards took a moment during the annual ceremony on Sunday, August 27, to open up a conversation about the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted when white supremacists clashed with counter-protestors. Heather Heyer died after a car plowed into a group of protesters who were opposing the rally of white nationalists.
Reverend Robert Wright Lee, who is a descendent of confederate general Robert E. Lee, took the stage to discuss the horrifying incident. “As a pastor it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin,” he said. “Today, I call on all of us, with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on.”
He added: “We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women’s March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville.”
Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, then took the stage to speak about the horrifying death of her daughter. “Thank you. I love you guys too. Only 15 days ago, my daughter Heather was killed as she protested racism,” she said. “I miss her, but I know she is here tonight.”
“I have been deeply moved to see people across the world, the whole world, find inspiration in her courage. Today, I am announcing the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation,” she continued. “A nonprofit organization that will provide scholarships to help more people join Heather’s fight against hatred. Please visit our website to help me make Heather’s death count.”
Bro then announced that MTV would give one of the show’s new awards, Best Fight Against the System, to all of the nominees, who included Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson, the Hamilton Mixtape, Big Sean, Alessia Cara, Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley and John Legend.
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