What the Tragedy in El Paso is Really About and How You Can Help
The tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio last weekend were horrible. I was almost left without words. It’s taken a few days to process everything. It brought me back to the impotence I felt when nothing happened after Sandy Hook, or after Parkland. Things have been escalating, every day we see it. The Occupant in the White House fuels hateful rhetoric, and people who hate have become emboldened and empowered by his words. Of course, if the “Commander in Chief” is spewing hateful rhetoric and talking about shooting people on Fifth Avenue without repercussions, why wouldn’t the white supremacists be emboldened? After all, there IS a white supremacist (actually, probably more than one) in the White House.
Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
But, the domestic terrorism that occurred in El Paso is particularly disturbing because of what it represents. A man went out of his way to kill Hispanic people, because he doesn’t want Brown people to take over, so says his manifesto. This shows us a few things. First, how sorry is your life that you actually have time to travel so far away to do something like this? Second, the education system is really failing us. Because, if you know your American history, you know that Texas was part of Mexico before being the Lone Star State and becoming part of the United States. As a matter of fact, there are MANY states that were Mexican before becoming part of the United States. As Eva Longoria says, “we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”
What I want everyone to understand is this: This isn’t an attack on Mexicans or Mexican Americans. This is an attack on all Latinos. Because when 45 came down that escalator and said that Mexicans were rapists and criminals, he really wasn’t ONLY talking about Mexicans. He was talking about ALL of us, no matter the nationality. When he says that our country is being “infested” he means it is browner than he’d like, and there are way too many of us for his liking. This isn’t simply an attack against Mexicans, Mexican Americans. We must not be fooled. This is an attack on anyone who doesn’t look like a WASP. He wants to take us out, like he would take out an infestation of cockroaches.
I recently read a Twitter feed by Adrian Carrasquillo. It was heartbreaking. People describing how they feel being Latino and being targeted, people fearing for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
— Diana aka LadydeeLG (@dianalimongi) August 7, 2019
What can we do?
It’s easy to feel hopeless and powerless. It’s easy to feel defeated. But we must NOT. We must continue. Even if we must take a few days or however long to step away to recharge, we must not lose hope. For our kids, for the future, we must remain hopeful.
Here are some things you can do to not fall into hopelessness and inaction:
- Call out the administration and lawmakers who are spewing hate. Call them out on Twitter, call their offices, write emails and letters.
- Check out on your Latinx friends. You may not know what their status is, and even the ones that have legal status are hurting right now.
- Support all Latinx people, regardless of nationality. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us!
- Check in on all your immigrant friends. This stuff is can be very triggering, regardless of background.
- Use the power of your purse! Support immigrant businesses (especially small businesses who really rely on our support to thrive) and do not support corporations that are profiting off of immigrant detention. And know that activist and consumer pressure CAN make a difference! See how activist groups got Chase (and other banks) to agree to not finance immigrant detention.
- If you can, support the victims and their families financially. You can donate to victims in El Paso here. You can donate to specific victim funds too: Jordan and Andre Achondo (the couple who died shielding their newborn baby).
- Follow activists on Instagram (and Twitter) so you can be up to date on information as it’s happening! Some of my favorites: Shaun King, Paola Mendoza, Carolina Rubio MacWright, Linda Sarsour, the ACLU, Michael Skolnik, United We Dream.
- Take time to recharge if you must (and we all should!) so you can keep on lifting your voice and fighting.
- KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! If you are a citizen and/or have legal status, make sure you know your rights so you can protect others.
- If you can, help facilitate KNOW YOUR RIGHTS workshops in your community.
It isn’t enough to say “I’m not a racist.” You have to be proactively ANTI-RACIST. You have to show up. These ARE NOT NORMAL times. Nothing that is happening is normal.
I’d like to leave you with this quote, and below, I’ve updated it for our times. Please please use your voice to speak out for the most vulnerable, even if you’re not one of them.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE MEXICANS, and I didn’t speak out because I was not Mexican.
Then they came for the Muslims, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t Muslim.
Then they came for the undocumented immigrants, and I didn’t speak out, because I wasn’t undocumented.
Then they came for the poor people, and I didn’t speak out, because I’m not poor.
Then they came for the women of color, and I didn’t speak out because I’m not a person of color.
Then the came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.