There’s been a noticeable uptick in verbal attacks on people from diverse backgrounds since Trump has taken office. We’ve seen multiple attacks made against the Latinx community this year alone and numerous cases where they’ve been discriminated against simply for speaking Spanish. This spring two Latinas were harassed by a Border Patrol officer for speaking to one another in Spanish and in yet another scenario, someone chose to verbally attack two people minding their business in a supermarket, speaking their native tongue, but thankfully the unexpected attack was stopped by a true ally.
Fabby Velsa, a Mexican woman, posted a video on Facebook that shows the tail end of an attack on her and a friend. As Velsa was speaking to her friend in Spanish at a convenient store in Colorado, she was approached by a racist attacker who insulted them for not speaking English.
The video, which was posted on Oct. 1, shows a woman, now identified by social media users as Kamira Trent, threaten to call the police. “You get out of here now! Do not. I’m calling the cops,” yells Trent to the woman in the video, who is wearing a shirt and jeans. “You leave these women alone. Get out! Go!” Trent can be seen in the video following her as she attempts to leave once police are mentioned.
During the back and forth, the shopper attempts to tell Trent that she comes “from a different generation” and that “you will lose this country,” but she stands her ground, telling her that she has “respect and it does not matter.”
Trent can be heard telling an employee: “This woman needs to be escorted out of here. You do not harass Hispanic ladies!”
The video has been viewed more than 600K times and shared 11K times since posted on Monday.
The online responses include both shock and appreciation for Trent, who is being called a hero.
Although we don’t know exactly who the unidentified attacker is, we know bigotry has real effects like in the case of Manhattan lawyer Aaron Schlossberg, who was caught on camera spewing racist remarks at Spanish-speaking restaurant workers last May. “And my guess is they’re not documented,” Schlossberg said to an employee, who appeared to be a manager, in the viral video. “So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country.”
Schlossberg later “apologized” via Twitter and LinkedIn, saying, “I am not a racist,” claiming that the video did not capture “the real me.”
In the days following that viral attack, his firm, the Law Office of Aaron M. Schlossberg, received a flood of one-star reviews on Yelp and people altered the online listing for his firm. This, among other actions, have impacted his business since his vile verbal attack.
As for the unidentified Colorado attacker, Trent did call the police and she was arrested.
The viral attacks haven’t stopped Latinxs from speaking Spanish with pride. Hashtag StillSpeakingSpanishYQue, which was sparked by Schlossberg’s racist rant, created space for Latinxs to affirm their identity and what the language means to them. While Spanish isn’t the only language spoken in Latin America, it’s predominantly used across our 21+ countries and a verbal way to maintain our shared history and culture. Whether it’s a lawyer in New York or a border patrol agent in Montana, our community won’t let these hateful acts stop us from speaking our native tongue.
Trent’s actions ignited support because it was an example of true allyship. While an ally isn’t someone who is apart of the marginalized group, they can empathize with their struggle and oftentimes use their privilege to bring about effective change and outcomes. Trent, who is a white woman, used her white woman privilege to check a fellow white woman in hopes of diffusing the situation (for Velsa and her friend) and letting the older white woman know her actions were not acceptable. That’s what true allies do.