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The internet is praising three Colorado women after one of them stepped in to defend the other two as they were being harassed at the grocery store. The two women, who are Mexican, were being accosted by another customer, who was telling them to stop speaking Spanish and to learn English.
According to BuzzFeed News, Fabiola Velasquez and Isabel Marin were shopping at a City Market in Rifle, Colorado, on Monday when they were stopped by a white woman named Linda Dwire. Dwire then asked Velasquez and Marin if they liked living in the U.S., and then she told them to learn English.
Dwire’s confrontational tirade, however, was stopped by Kamira Trent, a stranger to Velasquez and Marin who overheard Dwire and stepped in to de-escalate the situation. Trent told Dwire that it was a free country, where she couldn’t tell the women how to speak.
“She just got angrier and angrier. I was trying to get her away from the two women, but she wasn’t going to leave them alone,” Trent told BuzzFeed News.
“What she said and the way she said it was wrong,” Trent continued, saying Dwire evoked phrases such as, “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.”
A video of the incident, uploaded to Velasquez’s Facebook page, shows Trent and Dwire yelling at each other, with Trent telling Dwire to leave Velasquez and Marin alone.
“I’m calling the cops. You leave these women alone! Get out! Go!” Trent tells Dwire in the video.
“You come from a generation that’s destroying this country,” Dwire replies.
“No, I do not. I have respect, and it does not matter. You do not harass people,” Trent responds.
“You will lose your country. You know what, you will lose this country,” Dwire continues.
“You do not harass Hispanic women!” Trent says at the end of the video, as the women walk down the aisle together, away from Velasquez and Marin.
Dwire was arrested and charged with two counts of bias-motivated harassment and is currently out on bond. She maintains, however, that she is not racist, and that she’s just “patriotic.”
“They’d rather have their country here. I don’t mind them coming here as long as they want to be an American and not go on our welfare system,” Dwire told the publication. “When there are so many people that they don’t learn English, that’s what divides our country.”
However, Velasquez, who has been in the country for eight years, said Dwire made them feel like she would hurt them and said if Dwire wasn’t racist, she wouldn’t have cared what language the women spoke.
Yo nunca pensé que esto me fuera a pasar a mi. Estábamos una amiga y yo platicando en la tienda en español y de repente llega una señora a insultarnos que si vivíamos en este país no teníamos que hablar español que tendríamos que hablar sólo inglés. Gracias a la otra muchacha (que no conocemos) nos defendió y llamó a la policia, Y creo que se llevaron arrestada a la señora que nos estaba agrediendo. Siempre vi los videos en las redes y me daba coraje y hoy, que fue mi caso puedo decir que sentí una gran impotencia.Posted by Faby VelSa on Monday, October 1, 2018
“Stand up and say something,” Trent told the publication. “Letting that happen is really what’s wrong with our country.”
H/T BuzzFeed News
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.