EDITOR'S NOTE: After we first reported this story, we learned of some inaccuracies with the date of the alleged incident.
A Tampa woman says she was the target of workplace racism, and now Hillsborough County deputies are investigating.
Pictures Terri Silar posted on Facebook of the incident show a monkey with a noose around its neck along with a handwritten note which includes the N-word.
Her post has been shared thousands of times.
Terri Silar says she and several co-workers earlier this week were talking about the school shooting in South Florida when they got into a debate about gun control and decisions by President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama.
The conversation escalated and Silar says she ended up walking out of the room.
The next day, she walked into her office to find a monkey with a noose around its neck hanging from her chair along with a note reading “You are getting deported back to Africa (n-word) and that will make America great again. The bottom of the note was signed “Whites 4 Trump.”
She found another note on her computer that read “(N-word) bitch.”
“I had 18 emotions going through my mind. I was shocked, but most of all I was hurt,” Silar said.
She said she asked her co-workers if they knew who did it saying “Is this a joke? If so, it isn’t funny.”
She immediately reported it to her boss who she said contacted the general manager.
“They were just as appalled as I was.” She said her boss said they would scan every key code to try to find out who was in the building overnight and question every one of those employees.
Silar says the incident made her concerned for her safety.
“I felt threatened. I didn’t feel safe. For someone to be that bold. That is a blatant boldness and a hate crime. It is a monkey with a noose around its neck. What message do you think I’m going to take from that?” she said.
Silar says she also filed a report with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
In frustration, she took to Facebook, posting pictures and saying she can’t believe this is happening in 2018.
The response she got online went viral. Her post has been shared more than 30,000 times.
“People have been very sympathetic, outraged and mortified like I was,” she said. “People were telling me their stories of racism that they’ve had to deal with. I’ve had messages from people from the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, you name it. They’re all saying, 'I’ve experienced this.' To hear that made me feel I’m not alone.”
While she says it’s nice to feel the support of an online community, it's not OK.
The bigger issue is that many people are dealing with racism.
“In 2018, I’d like to say we’ve come so far but then when this happened. I’m like, 'Did we move? Are we standing still?' I don’t know. I just don’t feel progression after something like this.” Silar said.
When I asked what we can do to stop this, she said, “We need to talk. See each other for the content of our characters as opposed to the color of our skin. Let’s just talk and love. Love should be color blind,” she said.
Silar didn’t want to tell us the name of the company she works for because she doesn’t want this to impact business. She says they’ve been very helpful and are backing her 100 percent, actively working to find the person responsible.
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