MILWAUKEE — More than two years have passed since Mahud Villalaz became the victim of a hate crime on Milwaukee's south side.
A dispute over parking ended when a man threw acid on his face, leaving him with third-degree burns.
While living a “normal” life is important to him, Villalaz said he spent much of the last two years working hard to make sure living among hate in America, is no longer normal for anyone.
Villalaz spoke with TMJ4 in 2019, less than 24 hours after he was doused with acid.
Two years later, it is family night in the Villalaz household. These days, he is in better spirits. but he will never forget what happened.
Police accuse then-64-year-old Clifton Blackwell of throwing acid on Villalaz while confronting him about parking too close to a bus stop.
“He said, you cannot park over there. Why don’t you respect our laws and go back to your country,” Villalaz said.
Blackwell faces felonious hate crime charges including hate crime for the attack.
Villalaz’ scars serve a constant reminder of those traumatic moments.
“It was all over here, but it all healed. Thank God,” he said.
Today, he continues to heal emotionally and physically. He is also speaking publicly on behalf of efforts to deter hate crimes.
“You have to say something about that because we have to stop the crime. Everybody can live here peacefully,” Villalaz said.
According to FBI data tracking, reported hate crimes in Wisconsin saw a 44 percent increase between 2019 and 2020. Other midwestern states saw similar spikes.
“It’s really sad to see that,” Villalaz said.
Despite the numbers, he continues sharing his story, hoping to raise awareness for a safer tomorrow.
“It starts in the family. Take care of what you love. Take care of what you love, raise them right. We can,” he said when asked if the world can get past hate.
Villalaz said he’s since moved on from what happened two years ago and only works to make things better.
Blackwell’s trial is set to begin January 10, 2022.