The loss of a child is a nearly unimaginable level of grief to those of us who have never experienced it, which makes the efforts by the mother of Heather Heyer, Susan Bro, even more moving. Bro spoke in front of Congress on Thursday as part of her dedication to educating others about racism and its effects on our society and our world, something she’s had all too much experience with.
Heading to talk to House subcommittee on Hate Crimes today. I can only tell what I know. I know she’s watching over me, but I wish I could talk it over with her. Videos of her laughing will remind me why I’m doing this. #WeMoveAhead #LoveWins #BlackLivesMatter #StepUpStepOut
— Susan Bro (@SusanBro7) May 15, 2019
During her testimony, she was questioned by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) about her purpose in wishing to speak before Congress during an investigation into the rise in hate crimes in the United States. Bro’s answer was profound and deeply touching.
‘I have been given a huge platform across the country, in some forms even around the world, because I’m white. And many black parents lose their children, many Muslim parents lose their children, Jewish parents lose their children, and nobody pays attention. And because we have this myth of the sacredness of the white female, I’ve been given a platform. So I’m going to use that platform to keep drawing attention back to where the issues are.’
The same Congress who has heard testimony from the GOP’s selected witnesses, including Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens, who insisted that Democrats are simply being hysterical about the rise in hate crimes. Bro brought a whole new atmosphere to the investigations with her powerful words.
‘I’m moved in hearing you speak about these issues so eloquently. And in your experience in living through this country and recognizing the privilege that you have. What was that process like for you? How did you come to be able to articulate these points? How did you see it? How did you experience it and how do you educate others?’
Bro responded by saying:
‘Always with the mindset of the teacher. I believe in learning what I need to learn and then putting it back out and putting it as simply and straightforward as possible for the listener. I’m still doing that. I find that a lot of people have no clue of the privilege that they have, nor how they should be using that privilege. As I mentioned before, many people think being non-racist is okay and that’s enough to solve our country’s problems and instead we need to be actively anti-racist.’
Susan Bro has demonstrated as much or more dignity and grace as any figure in American public life over the last few years. https://t.co/OQaENqVN54
— Michael Lee-Murphy (@mickleemurph) May 16, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez asked her to elaborate on that point.
‘And what is the distinction between being non-racist and anti-racist?’
Bro’s answer will be all too familiar to anyone who has tried to start a conversation about race and inequality in America.
‘Non-racist is saying I don’t recognize anybody’s color. I think we’re all equal and we should all be treated fairly. And that’s kind, to a point. I understand what they’re trying to say and it comes from a place of good intentions. However, we need to recognize our differences. We need to rejoice in our differences. America is stronger for all our differences brought together, and we need to accept that and go out of our way to stand up against racism when we see it. To be anti-racist means to take an active stance of “I am not going to tolerate that in my presence.”‘
For more of Bro’s testimony, see video below:
Featured image screenshot via YouTube