Fierce

The Second Lady Of Pennsylvania, A Former Undocumented Immigrant From Brazil, Was Attacked And Called The N-Word

Racism knows neither dignity nor bounds and Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the wife of Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, knows this first hand.

Fetterman, a Brazilian-American activist, philanthropist, and non-profit executive who co-founded 412 Food Rescue and is married to John Fetterman, said that she became the target of a racially-motivated verbal attack over the weekend. Part of the incident, which took place at Fetterman’s local grocery store, was captured on video and has gone viral.

Gisele Barreto Fetterman shared details of the incident on Twitter this past Sunday.

“I love love love this country but we are so deeply divided, I ran to the local grocery store and was met by and verbally assaulted by this woman who repeatedly told me I do not belong here,” Fetterman shared in a tweet that featured the video. The two-second clip shared with Twitter shows an unidentified woman lowering her mask to say, “You’re a n*****,” into Fetterman’s car window.

Fetterman explained in an interview with the Washington Post that the woman in the video had confronted her in the store earlier and pursued her outside of the store later that day.

According to Fetterman’s interview with the Post, the woman told her that she didn’t “belong here.”

“She said, ‘There’s that n-word that Fetterman married. You don’t belong here. No one wants you here. You don’t belong here,’” Fetterman explained in her interview with the Post. “The fact that she was so comfortable and bold to just do it to my face with an audience … that was really scary.”

“I was just kind of frozen in that moment,” she went onto explain. “I was shaking. I was so nervous.”

“The confrontation continued into the parking lot where I was able to finally capture it after the crying winded down,” Fetterman shared on Twitter. “This behavior and this hatred is taught. If you know her, if she is your neighbor or relative, please, please teach her love instead.”

While the woman in the video has yet to be identified, Fetterman told the Post that the incident is now being looked into by state troopers.

Fetterman explained that she called her usual trooper escort after the confrontation and sent them a picture of the woman’s license plate.

Originally from Brazil, Fetterman came to the United States with her mother as an undocumented immigrant as a child. She became a citizen in 2009 is the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that provides clothing and food to people in need. Fetterman’s mother came to the United States with a Doctor of Philosophy degree but ultimately took jobs cleaning hotels and houses to make ends meet after she moved to the United States. According to Fetterman, her mother’s pay was often withheld due to her status as an undocumented immigrant. She has never publicly identified as having Black roots.

Of course, Fetterman’s experience is shocking but in recent years has not become unusual, given current leadership

According to reports from the FBI published in 2019, racially-motivated verbal and physical assaults have been on the rise in recent years. No doubt the increase is congruent with Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies and continued anti-Latino and anti-Black sentiment during his campaign run for president and his time in office.

In 2015, Trump notably launched his presidential campaign with a speech in which he accused Mexicans of being drug dealers, criminals, and rapists.

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