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Milwaukee Declares Battery Acid Attack a Hate Crime

Mahud Villalaz

The number of hate crimes carried out against immigrants is rising in the United States. Recently, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Clifton A. Blackwell was charged with first-degree reckless injury and use of a dangerous weapon. The charge follows Clifton’s arrest over an alleged attack that left another man with half his face covered in battery acid, and could end up imprisoned for 35 years with $105,000 in fines.

According to Time:

“Mahud Villalaz suffered second-degree burns to his face. He said the attack happened after a man confronted him about how he had parked his car and accused him of being in the U.S. illegally. Villalaz, 42, is a U.S. citizen who immigrated from Peru.”

Villalaz was taken to the hospital, treated and released. While Speaking to reporters, he became emotional as he described what it felt like to tell his son what happened. A disagreement over how a car was parked devolved into racially charged violence. The incident has been labeled a hate crime by authorities in Milwaukee and has reignited the debate over race relations in the U.S., with a renewed focus on immigration.

Back in August, in a piece published by the Washington Post, Ciarra Torres-Spelliscy notes that “…from the start, America was multiracial and polyglot.” Despite its diversity, the U.S. continually struggles with xenophobia and endemic racism, paving the way to horrific actions such as these.

It seems as though the nation is in dire need of a history lesson, and a healthy dose of compassion. Maybe it should peddle that instead of opioids.

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Jessica Hoppe

Jessica Hoppe is a New York-based writer and social media strategist who founded her blog, Nueva Yorka, in 2015. She has been featured in Vogue, Yahoo, HuffPost, PopSugar, Who What Wear, Ravishly and worked as Lifestyle Editor for StyleCaster. Jessica has been passionate about writing, diversity and Latin American culture from an early age. Having grown up in a Spanish speaking home, her father is Ecuadorian and her mother is from Honduras.

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