(WTNH) — It’s become a COVID-19 reality: “Zoom bombing.” Monday, during a virtual campaign meeting, Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and Newtown residents experienced a racially-motivated intrusion. Representative Hayes says it’s not an issue of Zoom security, but racism.
“I don’t want people to think this is an issue with Zoom security, or people getting into a meeting. This is just the same issue presenting itself in a different way.”
Afterward, Hayes posted a screenshot of the racist attack, which said, “Shut up, N-word, go pick your cotton.”
In a very candid post, Congresswoman Hayes wrote that Black women are expected to press on and to ignore such behavior. So, even though she is quick to point out that she’s not broken, nor will she give up.
“I weighed heavily the fact, do I want to give more oxygen to this situation. And, I did not. But at the same time I realized that by doing that, I was doing what we’ve always done. And not addressing it.” Rep. Hayes said.
So, where do we go from here?
“First of all, people have to understand that this is not a political issue. This is just basic decency.” Hayes explained. “I think what people can do moving forward is, just be aware of their own behavior. To make sure that they call these things out, or not allow themselves to be in spaces where people are making comments, or saying things, or doing things like that because I think we’re at a point where there’s no shame in it.”
Words can cut like a knife. They can also help the healing process. Reactions came swiftly from Democrats and Republicans alike. Including Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (R), who said on Twitter “Absolutely horrible racist attack on @Jahana HayesCT I stand in solidarity with her-There is no place for hate.”
“That does make me feel [good] because acknowledgment is the first step,” Rep. Hayes said. “I’ve had Republican leaders, first selectmen throughout the state who have reached out, emailed, and just said ‘I want you to know that we’re also not ok with this.'”