The Rev. Robert Lee IV, great-great-great-great nephew of Gen. Robert E. Lee, spoke during Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards to denounce racist violence.
“We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate,” he 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.”
Lee graduated from Duke University’s Divinity School with a master’s in theology, the Grand Haven Tribune reported. A statue of Gen. Lee was removed from Duke Chapel recently after protesters damaged it.
Rev. Lee, who served as a pastoral intern at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, is an adjunct professor at Appalachian State University and is pastor at a United Church of Christ in Winston-Salem, the Tribune reported.
He saluted the Black Lives Matter Movement, the Women’s March on Washington before introducing Susan Bro, whose daughter Heather Heyer died when a car plowed through a group of pedestrians during the recent Charlottesville, Va. protests.
“Only 15 days ago, my daughter Heather was killed as she protested racism. I miss her, but I know she’s here tonight,” Bro said. “I’ve been deeply moved to see people across the world find inspiration in her courage.”
She has launched a foundation in her daughter’s memory. The nonprofit will provide scholarships to those seeking a degree or certification in, but not limited to, law, paralegal studies, social work, social justice, and education, the foundation site says. It’s online here.
“I want people to know that Heather never marched alone. She was always joined by people of every race and every background in this country,” Bro said. In that spirit, she announced, all six nominees in the “Best Fight Against the System” category had been declared winners.
Watch the clip here: