Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, descendant of Civil War general Robert E. Lee, took the stage at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards to denounce white supremacists on Sunday (August 27) night. The Confederate general’s statue was covered in the aftermath of the Charlottesville tragedy.
“We have made my ancestor an idol of racism, white supremacy and hate,” Lee said. “As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.”
Lee cited inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement, the Women’s March organizers, and Heather Heyer, the young woman who was killed protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville. He brought Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, on stage to talk about how she has been impacted by the tragedy.
Bro said she was deeply moved to see people across the world find inspiration in Heather’s courage. She also announced the launch of the Heather Heyer Foundation, a scholarship organization that will help more people join the fight against hatred. She called on the audience to help make her daughter’s death “count” in the battle for racial equity before honoring all six videos nominated in the “Best Fight Against the System” category.
“I’m here to speak for my child,” Bro said. “She’s not allowed to speak now except through me, so I’m going to speak for social justice; I’m going to speak for being outraged and paying attention; I’m going to speak for positive action.”
You can watch the video below: