Just after 9 a.m. today, Flavia Marlene Almonte, a Latina Muslim woman who lives in Miami, pulled her car over near a police officer in Fort Lauderdale and broke down in tears.
"I just need a place to vent," she said, speaking into a Facebook Live feed. "I'm still shaking, and my heart is pounding."
A Donald Trump supporter on a motorcycle, she said, had circled her car, screamed insults at her, and professed his love for Trump, all because she was wearing a crimson-colored hijab.
Neither Almonte nor Fort Lauderdale Police immediately responded to messages from New Times about the incident, which she describes in detail in the video post.
"I was driving through Fort Lauderdale on my way to the courthouse because I'm going to some adoption thing, National Adoption Day," she says in the clip. "And as I'm driving, this guy — I was looking away, and then I turned and looked at him, and he starts yelling at me and yelling at me. I'm like, 'What's wrong with him?'"
From two lanes over, she says, she caught a few choice insults the man hurled at her, including "bitch."
Then, "like a maniac," she says, the man cut across two lanes of traffic to start circling her car.
"He just circles around, starts circling around," she says. "And then he goes through the other lane like a maniac, and it's a red light, and it's at the corner of an intersection, so he keeps circling around me, circling with his bike. I'm thinking, I'm stuck in a red light, and I can't go anywhere. That was really scary." She says the man continued circling her car until the light changed. She says that her adrenaline "was rushing" and that she started to shake.
"Clearly," she says, "I heard him mouthing off 'Trump,' saying all this stupid stuff. That was scary. That was the first time I ever got scared, the first encounter." She says that from now on, she'll try to avoid areas where people could hurt her.
When the light changed, she says, she hightailed it to the first police car she could find.
Almonte's tearful plea for help mirrors a frightening trend across the nation: increased incidents of hate and harassment directed toward Muslim Americans since Trump's presidential campaign and election. Muslims have reported being screamed at, physically assaulted, and having offensive graffiti — including swastikas — spray-painted outside their homes.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes nationally, says more than 700 hate crimes have been reported in the two weeks since Trump was elected. The trend has been so frightening that the New York state government has created a special task force to combat the attacks. (A representative from Florida's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which tracks anti-Muslim hate crimes, could not be reached for comment for this story.)
But now civilians are using their smartphone cameras to document as many incidents of hate and racism as they can: Just last week, a Trump supporter was caught screaming at a black Starbucks employee at a location near the University of Miami.
In today's video, Almonte says the incident confirms her fears that public areas are becoming increasingly less safe for Muslim people, especially women.
She then breaks down in tears in the video. "I almost felt in the moment, maybe I should take off my hijab," she says. "This is in Fort Lauderdale, I don't know. I don't want to scare people, but at the same time, just be vigilant, I don't know.
"It's crazy and kind of confirms my belief that Miami is kind of safe, but outside of that, I'm scared to go out," she says. "Look at this. People are insane and so hateful."
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