The Hispanic community in New Orleans says they feel humiliated and insist they will not stay quiet when it comes to a television ad created by Senator David Vitter's campaign. ABC26 News Reporter Vanessa Bolano has the details.
"Charlie Melancon, thanks to him we might as well put out a welcome sign for illegal aliens."
It's the verbatim of an advertisement approved by Senator Vitter that has the Hispanic community in New Orleans outraged. Many are calling it demeaning, dehumanizing, and degrading.
People from all backgrounds stood behind Latinos at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center in Central City on Monday.
Minh Nguyen, a Vietnamese American with the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association says, "We are here as individuals and community leaders, as republicans, democrats, independents."
Gina Warner with Afterschool Partnership says, "Even though they're adults, when they hold elected office, when their words and actions are this offensive, it does not define them as leaders."
Nolan Rallins, CEO of The Urban League of Greater New Orleans says, "Anytime that we spend letting the arch of humanity being bent away from any individual or any group of people are moments that we spend letting humanity fall be the wayside."
Inside the Ashe Civic Center many gathered to defend their ancestry. The ad shows illegal aliens crossing the border, and welcomed by a Charlie Melancon banner and a limo.
Vanessa Flores is Mexican American. She was born in the United States, but is proud of her background and says the ad is a stab at the Hispanic community.
"We are the ones that are offended. To assume that all illegals are Hispanic or Latinos, or have brown skin and come through a wired fence is wrong."
Some even compared Senator Vitter to Hitler. Rafael Saddy says, "He's using the Hispanic community just like Hitler did, to inflict that fear and that is not correct."
Those in attendance are particularly angry that the Senator has targeted one group of people and they say they'd like the ad to be pulled from television and the internet.
Civic leaders say they've heard the ad has a "shelf life" that may have already expired, meaning it won't run on TV anymore.
ABC26 News called Vitter's campaign for conformation, but no one has responded as of Monday afternoon.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun