A day after Americans elected a bigoted xenophobe as their next president, a 12-year-old Hispanic student witnessed a racist display in her school cafeteria that left her horrified and worried for her safety.
Josie Ramon and Isabelle Castilla were having lunch in the Royal Oak Middle School in Detroit, Michigan, with several other Mexican-American students when they suddenly heard some kids beating their hands against the table and chanting something.
Gradually, the sound got louder. The students were chanting: “Build the wall” — a reference to president-elect Donald Trump’s infamous plan to build a “yuge” border wall that he would somehow make Mexico pay for.
“The kids, they seemed to be so happy and excited that they were saying this ... and it was hurtful,” Ramon told CNN, recalling how she couldn't hold back her tears. “It was so hard to look and just watch and not being able to do anything because I was afraid. ... I was so scared.”
After her friend left the room crying, Ramon picked up her phone and filmed the entire incident. She sent it to her mom who then forwarded the clip to some of the other parents. Soon, the video found its way to Facebook and went viral.
Everyone thought the footage was outrageous — including the parents whose children were involved in the hate fest. However, their anger was not directed toward their own offspring; instead, they were mad at the student who had filmed the incident.
“It was on Facebook and the parents’ PTA group — people were pointing the finger and saying she should be expelled and she should be prosecuted for endangering children,” explained Rose Castilla, the mother of Ramon’s friend. “I just felt sick to my stomach. That’s not OK.”
After that came the backlash from the students.
“When I walked into the room, people would walk out of the room for some reason,” the young girl continued. “People would see me in the hallways and turn around and walk the other way. I felt like an animal.”
A few days later, a noose was found in the boys’ bathroom. Although the school suspended the student behind the disgusting act, the entire episode just made Ramon feel more threatened.
The fear of security combined with the banishment made her transfer schools.
Ramon is currently enrolled in a private school, but despite experiencing traumatic fallout, she is not afraid to do what she did all over again.
“I think if I had to go through this again to help everybody else who's Mexican-American, I would do it a thousand, a million, a quadrillion more times, because I want everybody to be happy no matter what,” she added.
It is good to see there is hope for this world after all.
Find out more in the video above.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters