SEATTLE — Seattle City councilmember Kshama Sawant says her staff has been overwhelmed by a bombardment of hateful and threatening emails and endless phone calls flooding her council office from around the country.
Sawant says the majority of emails appear to be coming from supporters of President-elect Trump, who may have been motivated by private Facebook groups to call and email her office, after she called for protests and “shutting it down,” on Inauguration day.
Many accuse Sawant of inciting riots.
Despite calls for her to leave office, or even the country, Sawant says she will not be intimidated.
"It is our moral duty to speak out," she said. Among thousands of emails, Sawant has seen repeated statements like “Get the hell out of my country while you can.” “Stop being a terrorist here! You need to go back where you came from,” wrote another emailer. “Get your stupid expletive back to India and answer my tech support questions, you Communist,” wrote another.
“I would say that elected officials like myself have an amplified responsibility to be out in the forefront of issues like this, where women and so many others are under attack,” she said. According to Sawant’s staff, the emails threatening violence are being turned over to Seattle Police.
Instead of pulling back under mounting pressure, Sawant says she's pushing back at groups calling to light up her phones and even deport her.
“Not all of the (writers and callers) are outright racist and misogynist,” she said. “Many of them are people who voted for Trump because they believe that he stands for the working person, he will lower their taxes, that he'll create living wage jobs. Trump is not going to do any of those things,” she said.
Sawant says she only called for peaceful non-violent protests against a Trump administration which she believes has a racist agenda. She plans on encouraging more protests to build grass roots power.
“If not now, when are we going to stand up for our basic rights,” she asked. “Building peaceful protest is only the very first step."
Thousands have signed an online petition calling for the removal of councilwoman Sawant after her remarks.
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