NAACP Image Awards: Maxine Waters Gives Stirring Speech, Addresses Death Threats

While accepting the Chairman’s Award during the 50th NAACP Image Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had a message for her “haters.”

“As for those ultra-right wing white supremacist haters who have threatened to kill me and my family and my staff, I’ve gotten four of them convicted. If you come for me, I’m coming for you.”

The audience erupted in applause.

Because of Waters’ outspoken criticism of President Trump, her life was threatened several times.

For example, in July, Waters’ district office in South Los Angeles was evacuated after receiving a suspicious package addressed to “Anne Thrax.” 

In June, the congresswoman canceled two events after receiving threatening messages and “hostile mail” at her office.

Related Story: Black Women Slam Top Democrats for ‘Failure to Protect’ Maxine Waters a ‘Shero’

More than 150 Black women leaders penned a letter in July to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticizing them for their lack of support for Waters.

“We write to share our profound indignation and deep disappointment over your recent failure to protect Congresswoman Waters from unwarranted attacks from the Trump Administration and others in the GOP,” the letter states. 

White Supremacists Convicted 

On March 20, a federal grand jury found Stephen Taubert of Syracuse, N.Y. guilty of sending terroristic, racist threats to Waters’ office. He said he was plotting to kill Waters as well as former President Barack Obama. The federal grand jury found he only targeted his victims due to their race.

Last year, Ceasar Sayoc, a man from Aventura, Fla., plotted to carry out a series of package bomb attacks targeting high-profile Democrats, including Waters. Sayoc pleaded guilty to 65 counts, including mailing explosives on March 21. Federal prosecutors said he should get a life sentence. 

Anthony Scott Lloyd, a Trump supporter in California, pleaded guilty in April 2018 to threatening Waters in a voicemail, during which he stated, in part, “If you continue to make these threats towards the President, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, because we will kill you…You can call the FBI, you can call the NSA, you can call whoever the f**k you want and report this…. B**h, you do it again, you’re dead. You’re a f***ing dead a** n***er”

Richard Mel Phillips also pleaded guilty in November 2018 to leaving a threatening voicemail message stating “There is nothing stopping me from killing your f****ing a**,” and that he would travel to her home state and “stick a bullet through your f****ing skull.”

In February, Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson was charged for plotting to kill Waters, several members of Congress, and television anchors. Hasson is a self-described white nationalist who advocated for “focused violence” in order to establish a white homeland. Federal agents found 15 firearms, including seven rifles, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his home in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Waters, who is 80 years old, has represented California’s 43rd congressional district since 2013. She is continuing to call for Trump’s impeachment.  

“So I haven’t forgotten about 45,” she said during her speech at the NAACP Image Awards. “He’s appointed an attorney general who thinks he can hold the special council’s report from the American people,” she said, in reference to the report by Robert Mueller about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. “I still think he needs to be impeached.”

Auntie Maxine

Waters is a trailblazer, and she made note of it in her speech.

“After a long career journey, tonight I stand before you as the first woman and the first African American to chair the powerful U.S. House Financial Services Committee,” she said. “And it is indeed an honor to hold the chairwoman’s gavel and yes, I got the gavel and I’m not afraid to use it.”

She also expressed gratitude to her following of millennials who endearingly refer to her as Auntie Maxine. 

“I have the honor of being adopted by millennials as their Auntie Maxine and I’m so proud of their growing influence and presentation,” she said.  “It’s a growing day in America. Women, people of color, LGBTQ Americans and millennials have growing power and my committee is a testament to it.”

Click here for a list of NAACP Image Award winners.


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