SANTA FE, N.M. — A community organizer in New Mexico has come under fire after sending a critic a Facebook message that likened an African-American member of Congress to an ape.

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Gloria Mendoza, a longtime community activist and organizer in Santa Fe, sent an adversary a Facebook message that included the image of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California next to an image of an orangutan wearing a wig.

Valerie Kennedy, the message’s recipient, shared the post with The New Mexican. You can see the photo Mendoza shared there.

Kennedy replied to Mendoza, saying, “Your racism is duly noted.”

“Good. You look like her. I don’t even know you and you called me a bully? You’re the bully. Let’s see if you tell me that to my face. You’re the racist. You don’t like Hispanics,” Mendoza responded. “Waters is a racist too.”

When reached for comment, Mendoza told The New Mexican that the post was a joke and that she didn’t think the post was racist. When asked if she would apologize to Kennedy, Mendoza offered, “Sorry if you’re offended by it.”

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While many in the community were offended by the post, a few people came to Mendoza’s defense.

Jim Williamson, a City Council candidate, told The New Mexican, “Gloria Mendoza’s free speech is guaranteed in our Constitution. She has her style, just as we all do. I am not one to criticize.” He went on to say, “There’s no way that Gloria’s racist.”

Woman shares photo of Maxine Waters next to an orangutan with a wig, says, “Sorry if you’re offended” AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Joy Johnston, Cox Media Group National Content Desk