#IStandWithErica Trends on Twitter after Black Georgia Lawmaker Erica Thomas Says She was Told 'Go Back Where You Came From' at Supermarket

Erica Thomas, a member of the Georgia state legislature, said that she was "verbally attacked" while grocery shopping with her young daughter on Friday by a man who called her a "lazy sonofabitch" and told her to "go back where you came from."

Thomas, an African American woman who has represented Georgia's 39th District, located just west of Atlanta, since being elected in 2014, first shared her story of the incident Friday afternoon in a Facebook live video, where she tearfully recalled the events.

"I decided to go live because I'm very upset because people are getting really out of control with this, with this white privilege stuff," said the state legislator. "I'm at the grocery and I'm in... the aisle that says '10 Items or Less.' Yes, I have 15 items, but I'm nine months pregnant and I can't stand up for long. And this white man comes up to me and says, 'You lazy sonofabitch... You need to go back where you came from.'"

Thomas said she tried to explain to the man she is not lazy, just pregnant, but said his response was to call her "ignorant." She wanted to say more to this person, but "I couldn't get anything out. I could just tell him, 'Please, leave me alone, please.' And my child And my child is just sitting right there, 'Mama, mama, why would he call you that? Why would he do that?' I can't even explain to her why he has so much hate in his heart."

She also says in the full video that the five additional items in her cart were actually things that her daughter had picked up that she wanted to buy for herself, but that it shouldn't have mattered even if she were over the limit.

"I'm in Publix, trying to buy groceries. Why are you so angry at me? You don't even know me and you call me a sonofabitch and I'm ignorant and a piece of shit? I don't understand," said Thomas.

Thomas said the man continued on insulting her until a Publix employee asked him to leave. "I was scared to leave there because I thought he was gonna follow me to my car, take out a gun, you never know."

The lawmaker later wrote on Twitter: "Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn't there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!"

The hashtag #IStandWithErica began to trend on Twitter Saturday as a growing number of people showed their support for Thomas.

Actress Patricia Arquette called Thomas' Facebook Live video "mandatory viewing" as she shared it with her nearly 350,000 followers:


— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) July 20, 2019

Though Thomas never mentions President Donald Trump by name, she did say in the full 12-minute video — see below — that "There's so much hate in this world and it's being incited by our president every single day."

A number of Thomas's supporters explicitly linked the president and his rhetoric to this incident.

"Standing w my colleague #Georgia Rep. Erica Thomas," wrote fellow Georgia State Representative Beth Moore. "When the President speaks, the world listens. That power must be used responsibly. Instead DJT uses it to sow hatred & contempt. We must reject that msg to prevent it from further infecting our community."

"This vileness unleashed and fomented by@realDonaldTrump must stop," wrote Twitter user Charlsa Bentley. "My heart breaks for@itsericathomas, as my heart breaks for our country."

Thomas told the Associated Press that the incident occurred at a Publix store in Mableton, Georgia, which is in her congressional district and listed as her current hometown on her Twitter profile. She said she intends to ask the store for surveillance footage from the confrontation.

UPDATE: The man involved in the alleged confrontation told a local TV station in Florida that he did not tell Thomas to "go back to where you came from," but did admit to getting into a verbal altercation with her and calling her a lazy [expletive].

Below is the full video Thomas posted to Facebook on Friday.

I’m about to be very Transparent because this racism and hate is getting out of control! I feared for my life!

Posted by Erica Thomas on Friday, July 19, 2019