Plattsburgh, NY suddenly got scary for Athina Mitchell and Charles Wilkinson during a fishing trip in their hometown. They were approached by an angry White man who was shouting the N-word at them repeatedly and making threats.
Mitchell and Wilkinson said they were scouting for a fishing spot when 35-year-old Derrick Kennedy approached them. He began calling them like dogs, saying "Here, ni***r, ni***r" and running after them.
A video posted online shows the couple reversing their car to get away from Kennedy, who pursues them while screaming.
Mitchell, in a Facebook post, says she was shaken by the event:
"I would like to be able to enjoy life without feeling like I don't belong in my own hometown."
"This evening I was verbally harassed by someone and he threatened to shoot me, and then punched the hood of my car. So many horrible names and threats were used by this man."
"It scars my soul that this happened to me. I would like to raise awareness, of the fact that even in our hometown, your life could be at risk... this is not just to expose a racist event. It's the fact that we can't just all live in harmony."
Kennedy's behavior escalated until he earned a charge of a hate crime.
After Kennedy pursued Mitchell and Wilkinson, he caught up to them and punched the hood of the car, causing damage.
Mitchell told NBC5:
"I began to speed up because I realized that I was really at risk for my life, so when we actually got out of there is when we contacted the police."
"Just until recently we have been hearing of these instances."
"God knows what's been happening before that...so when I realized that I have the opportunity to make awareness I decided to post it, and you could ask anybody that knows me, I'm not usually like this but I just felt like it needed to be said to make that change happen."
Kennedy was arrested and charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief as well as a felony hate crime.
Mitchell said, reflecting on the state of the country where racists are seemingly turning up on video at an alarming rate:
"It's come to the point where people are taking more aggression and acting more on violence matters, and that's what's really shocking to me."
"I can't just be comfortable in my own hometown, or you know, in my own situation or my own skin."
The nation is showing its ugly side in a visible, violent, racist way, demanding we listen.
How will we move forward from here?