WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement ahead of the two-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. that resulted in the deaths of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates:
“Nearly two years ago, white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville to spread a message of bigotry and intolerance. Their hate-fueled rally culminated in the deaths of three Americans – Heather Heyer, who was killed when a white nationalist drove his car into the crowd of counter-protesters, and Lt. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates, who died in a helicopter crash as they tried to bring stability to the city.
“As we approach the two-year mark of this tragedy, I stand with the families of those we lost as well as the entire Charlottesville community in denouncing bigotry and radicalism in every form. With hate crimes and white nationalism on the rise, we must work to honor these individuals today and every day by stamping out the voices of hate and prejudice – from those on the streets, to those in positions of power – that undermine the nation we love and the values we believe in. Let us also take a moment to remember and celebrate the lives of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates by fostering a culture of acceptance and open-mindedness.”
Sen. Warner has introduced legislation in honor of counter-protester Heather Heyer. This legislation would help combat the recent surge in hate crimes by improving the reporting and recording of hate crimes and supporting law enforcement prevention, training, and education as it relates to hate crimes.