A descendant of Robert E. Lee and Susan Bro, the mother of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, appeared during Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) to speak out against racism and white supremacy.
Robert Wright Lee IV took the stage to denounce the white nationalists who protested the removal of a statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, that pays tribute to the late Confederate general from the Civil War.
“We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate,” Lee said. “As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin. Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head on.”
“We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women’s March in January and especially in Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville,” he continued.
Bro announced that she is launching the Heather Heyer Foundation, a nonprofit to provide scholarships in her daughter’s honor.
“I miss her, but I know she’s here tonight,” Bro said of Heyer, who was killed when a vehicle plowed into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally.
Bro announced that MTV decided to give VMA Awards to all six nominees in the “Best Fight Against the System” category. Songs nominated included Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful,” which speaks out about body-shaming, and John Legend’s “Surefire,” which addresses immigration.
“I look forward to the important work that they and all of you will do together to make the world a better, kinder place,” Bro told the audience of the category’s honorees.