An ancestor of Civil War general Robert E. Lee and the mother of a woman killed earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia, have taken the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards to denounced white supremacists.
Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV and Susan Bro each denounced racism and white supremacists in speeches that were met with resounding applause inside The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Bro, whose daughter Heather Heyer was killed earlier this month while protesting white supremacists rallying in Charlottesville, announced from the stage Sunday that MTV had chosen to honor all six videos nominated in its “Best Fight Against the System” category.
Bro also announced she had established a foundation in her daughter’s name to provide scholarships to activists.
“Let’s leave here tonight remembering that we must show these Nazi white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville and all over the country that as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence, their hatred, and their discrimination,” she said. “We must resist.”
Lee introduced Bro and said his distant uncle had become a symbol for white supremacists and that everyone needed to stand up to hate groups.
“We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin,” Lee 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. 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.”
He credited the Black Lives Movement and women who marched in the Women’s March as helping combat hate.
The speeches were just one of several moments when the VMAs addressed politics and the course of the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report