U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes of Connecticut called for renewed dialogue about racist extremism after her Zoom event was targeted by a barrage of racial slurs.
Hayes said the attacks began about 10 minutes into the call with officials in Newtown. She said they were clearly a coordinated effort.
“Just a series of offensive slurs, the N-word, and then playing music on the call. There were I think four people who engaged in this activity, and when it was over, I literally just went back to where we were,” Hayes said.
Some posted the N-word in the chat, others posted pro-Trump slogans. Hayes says the event left her bothered and exhausted.
“I just asked myself, how could anyone be OK with this? It doesn’t mean you’re completely shattered and broken, but to not be affected by the use of that term over and over and over again. I just felt like, no, this is not normal,” Hayes said.
Hayes said this shows the need for open and difficult discussion about racist attacks and hate speech in America.
“People have become so emboldened, the people who engage in this type of activity. And unless as a community we say you can’t do that here, or we’re not going to tolerate that here, it continues to fester,” Hayes said.
Hayes is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Connecticut.