The hashtag #IStandWithErica trended on Twitter on Saturday after an African-American Georgia state lawmaker said she “feared for her life” after a white man “verbally assaulted” her and told her to “go back to where you came from” at a grocery store.
State Rep. Erica Thomas (D), minority vice chairwoman in the Georgia state House, tweeted Friday that she was “verbally assaulted” at the supermarket by a white man who told her she was “a lazy SOB” because she had too many items in the express checkout line.
Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!
— Erica Thomas (@itsericathomas) July 20, 2019
Thomas recounted the exchange an emotional Facebook live video that has since been reposted to Twitter.
“I’m at the grocery store, and I’m in the aisle that says ’10 items or less.’ Yes, I have 15 items, but I’m nine months pregnant, and I can’t stand up for long,” Thomas says in the video through tears. “And this white man comes up to me and says, ‘You lazy son of a bitch.'”
“He says, ‘You lazy son of a bitch. You need to go back where you came from,'” Thomas continues, adding that she tried to explain that she was pregnant and not lazy.
“It hurt me so bad. … I couldn’t get anything out. I could just tell him, ‘Please leave me alone.'”
According to Thomas, a Publix store employee later came by and asked the man to leave the store.
We have a serious problem in this Country when @itsericathomas is subjected to racism in a Cobb County @Publix in front of her daughter. #gapol. #IStandwithErica thank you @RenittaShannon for alerting me and the @NAACPGA. #NoPlaceforHate. pic.twitter.com/hN5HDS4aG9
— Gerald A. Griggs (@AttorneyGriggs) July 20, 2019
Hundreds used the hashtag to show support for Thomas, including actress Patricia Arquette, who tweeted Saturday that the video was “MANDATORY VIEWING” and added that “WE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS CANCER TO GROW.”
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) July 20, 2019
The incident comes less than a week after President Trump attacked a group of minority progressive congresswomen — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — tweeting Sunday that they should “go back” to their “crime infested” countries despite the fact that all four are U.S. citizens.
It also comes days after a crowd at Trump’s July 17 rally in North Carolina started chanting “send her back,” after Trump criticized Somali-born congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
These are the consequences of a president who foments hate every day—and sees our diversity not as a strength but as a weakness. Erica, thank you for serving your state and thanks to your husband for serving our country. We are better than this, and together, we will prove it. https://t.co/eCrdZFgAPl
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 20, 2019
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) July 20, 2019
Both @realDonaldTrump and @GOP have grossly underestimated the number of Americans who have experienced the racist "go back" insult. We all know how it hurts. And we are going to vote. I predict a Dem wave in 2020, just like we had in 2018.#IStandwithErica https://t.co/NOBdQcsxd1
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 20, 2019