‘This is who we are and we’re proud of that’: Multicultural family not backing down to threats

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County family is feeling support from their neighbors after receiving a hate-filled letter prompted by a Mexican flag displayed outside their home.

Jessica Zambrano was born and raised in the United States. Her husband Gustavo is originally from Mexico and is now a US citizen. When the family hung both an American and a Mexican flag on their home, they never expected backlash.

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“It’s nothing against the United States, we have an American flag too,” Zambrano said. “We are proud of both parts, and it’s just a representation of who our family is.”

A few weeks ago Zambrano received an anonymous letter in the mail demanding she take down the Mexican flag.

The letter reads “When mother f****** like you fly your piece of s*** Mexican flag, that means war. The 2nd Amendment gives the the [sic] right AND DUTY (with guns) to rid my country of people like you and your family. TAKE THE F****** FLAG DOWN! OR FEEL MY WRATH.”

“When I first got it, to be honest I was pretty scared,” Zambrano said. “I would say for probably the first week or so i was constantly looking behind my shoulder and out the window, and worried.

After calling the police, Zambrano took to her neighborhood Facebook group, hoping whoever sent the letter might see her family in a different light.

“I just felt like I wanted to reach out to this person, and the support that I got from my neighborhood was overwhelming,” she said. “Every person reached out, brought flowers, brought balloons, came and prayed with us, came and let us know how much they cared about us.”

A few days later several neighbors began displaying Mexican flags of their own, standing in solidarity with the Zambranos. One of those neighbors is Jannefer Fiordimalva, who says she’s experienced racism herself.

“I was hurt for Jessica and Gustavo and their family, and I was also really disappointed at the thought that someone thought it was an acceptable thing to do, to decide to spread this hatred,” Fiordimalva said.

Zambrano hopes her story can bring others together as it has for her neighborhood.

“Stand up for people who are getting bullied or discriminated against, which is exactly what all my friends and family and neighbors did,” she said. “They stood beside us and let this person know that that kind of talk or behavior is not welcome here.”

A spokesman for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating and have called in the FBI due to the hate crime nature of the letter. They are not able to release any additional details at this time.