Racism is alive and well, and an 11-year-old boy from Utah was just one of the latest victims of racial taunts and slurs.
Last Thursday (October 5), Mateus Romualdo was walking home from Viewmont Elementary School when he came into contact with a group of white teens who drove by yelling racial slurs.
Mateus, who only lives about a mile from the school, then phoned his mother to tell her what happened. According to her, words weren’t the only thing that her son feared. “He felt very terrified and actually told me he thought the kids were going to shoot him,” Heather Romauldo told local station Fox13.
Tracking the offenders down wasn’t actually the first thing Romauldo and his mom did. Instead, they wanted to let their community know what happened and took a stand against racism, creating a Facebook page called “Walk Mateus Home.”
Mateus’ basketball coach Troy Harlan organized the event and said he relates to the young boy’s struggles for acceptance in a predominantly white school.
“I know that when I read the post that his mom wrote about him being scared, I’ve gone through all that,” Harlan said. “I grew up in Davis County and I know what it feels like to be one of only two black kids at my school. The message I want to happen is that people need to be held accountable.”
On Wednesday of the following week, hundreds showed up to walk with Mateus, including retired Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey.
Heather Romaualdo displayed her appreciation for those who took part in the event and wants everyone to donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Salt Lake Valley.
See a local news package of what went down below.