Viral video shows woman standing up to shopper's 'racist' verbal attack against two Mexican immigrants
Kamira Trent intended to make a simple trip to the grocery store but instead has become an overnight sensation. In a now viral video, Trent is seen passionately sticking up for two fellow shoppers who were allegedly being harassed for speaking to each other in their native tongue, Spanish.
The clash began when Trent overheard a woman supposedly shouting, “You’re in America. You’re in my country. You can’t speak Spanish here. You need to speak English if you’re going to be in America,” according to interviews conducted by BuzzFeed News.
Trent peered down the aisle at City Market in Rifle, Colo., and realized that the verbal assault was directed at two Hispanic women, Fabiola Velasquez and Isabel Marin, who hail from Mexico.
Unable to stand by and let it happen, Trent — who is white — decided to confront the shouting woman.
“Get out of here, now!” Trent tells her in video footage of the showdown, before threatening to call the cops. “You leave these women alone! Get out! Go!”
The angry woman was shown moving closer to Trent, raising a finger and pointing it at her while saying, “You come from a generation that’s destroying this country.”
Trent objects, countering, “No, I do not. I have respect, and it does not matter. You don’t harass people like this.”
The woman begins to back down physically but continues her verbal tirade.
“You know what? You will lose this country. Yes, you will,” she shouts, but Trent stands her ground.
She later told BuzzFeed News that she didn’t initially want to get into a shouting match with the woman; she actually meant to defuse the situation. But when the other shopper became aggressive, things escalated.
“She just got angrier and angrier,” Trent said. “I was trying to get her away from the two women, but she wasn’t going to leave them alone. What she said and the way she said it was wrong.”
In the 33-second clip, Velasquez and Marin seem frozen by shock, clutching their shopping carts. They later told BuzzFeed they were caught off guard when the woman interrupted them after hearing them conversing in Spanish. She allegedly asked how long they lived in the U.S. and if they liked it. Velasquez, who has been in the country for eight years, and Marin replied that they did. Then, Velasquez says, the woman started putting her hand in their faces and lecturing them about learning English.
Velasquez and Marin confirmed to BuzzFeed News that, during the verbal attack, they did feel that the woman might hurt them. Trent did not want to take chances and made good on her promise to call the police as a store employee followed the women out. Carlos Cornejo, the officer who arrived on the scene, said he heard the woman yelling, “something to the effect of ‘this is what is wrong with our country’ and ‘they should not be speaking Spanish here.'”
Officer Cornejo arrested the woman, identified as Linda Dwire, and took her to Garfield County Jail. She was charged with two counts of bias-motivated harassment, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by BuzzFeed News, but was later released on bond and will return to court in November.
Dwire continues to defend her actions. She told the officer she was exercising her right to freedom of speech and claimed Velasquez and Marin were at fault because they “didn’t have the respect to speak English.”
“It has nothing to do with race,” she told BuzzFeed News after her release from jail. “It’s a patriotic thing. When people come to my country, they need to love it enough to speak English.”
Velasquez and Marin later realized that their newfound hero, Trent, was no stranger at all; she had coached Marin’s daughter alongside her own daughter on a volleyball team. The three hugged one another once the incident was over.
But the positive karma was about to come flooding in. The video, posted to Facebook, has been viewed 670,000 times.
“Good on her! Put this racist woman in her place,” one commenter wrote.
The praise has overflowed onto Twitter, where users are praising Trent as a “shero.”
Trent told BuzzFeed News that she has zero regrets about standing up to Dwire and having her arrested, and she encourages others to follow suit.
“Stand up and say something,” she said of other people witnessing injustices. “Letting that happen is really what’s wrong with our country.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: