Here Is Why El Paso Is Different
As Latinos, we are experiencing the worst racist political attacks in a generation
Dear LULAC Family and My Fellow Americans,
As Latinos, we are experiencing the worst racist political attacks in a generation.
In the 1940’s, between 250,000 and 500,000 Latinos served in the American armed forces during World War II. However, many war veterans were discriminated against and even denied medical services by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs when they arrived home.
In the 1950’s, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) launched Operation Wetback to remove illegal immigrants from mostly Southwestern states.
In the 1960’s, we saw redlining policies as a form of legal segregation. In the 1970’s and 1980's, attacks along the border against campesinos. In the 1990’s, voters approved Proposition 187 by a wide majority in California.
At every juncture, LULAC has been on the front lines fighting discrimination against our Latino community. But the attack in El Paso is different than anything else we have ever experienced, and it may very well be the fight of our lives.
Here is why El Paso is different.
What happened in El Paso started a long time ago, when the anti-immigrant rhetoric took hold of the 2016 Presidential election.
What happened in El Paso started in Charlottesville, VA when White Supremacists held the “Unite the Right” rally and Heather Heyer was killed by a member of Vanguard America (a white supremacist organization).
What happened in El Paso started in Poway synagogue (CA), Tree of Life Synagogue (PA), Pulse Nightclub (FL), and Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (SC) when domestic terrorists took the lives of countless of innocent victims with high-powered military style assault weapons.
What happened in El Paso started when the suspect started a 10-hour journey, posted a manifesto online, and began his attack wearing heat-resistant gloves because he knew his AK-47 would heat up after 100 rounds.
El Paso is different because it’s the first time that Latinos have been the target of domestic terrorist.
El Paso is different because 22 people were killed and 24 injured as they went about their daily lives, shopping for back to school supplies.
El Paso is different because Latinos were killed not because they are U.S. Citizens, undocumented, or Mexican nationals. They were killed simply because they are Latino.
All of these events were made possible by the fact that we allowed this anti-immigrant hate to drown out the voices of reason. All of these events were made possible by the fact that we still allow military assault style weapons to be bought and sold freely while our children are dying.
Where do we go from here?
Let me be clear, we are not going to back down from this fight. Not for one second.
The first thing we have done is denounce the President and demand that he ceases his use of predatory rhetoric while failing to condemn hate groups from the beginning of his presidency, after Charlottesville and leading all the way up to El Paso.
We are demanding that Gov. Abbott call a Special Session of the Texas legislature to change the gun laws and take swift action to curtail the sale of firearms. We were shocked to learn that the gun used in Dayton, Ohio was purchased online and shipped from Texas to Ohio.
LULAC has launched an El Paso Victims Fund for those killed and injured in El Paso. 100% of contributions will go directly to the victims of the El Paso shooting. LULAC will waive all administrative fees and pay all credit card fees associated with this fund.
On August 10, 2019 at 9AM (MDT) LULAC will lead the “March for a United America” to support the victims of the El Paso shooting. Join us in a call for unity for the people of El Paso and around the country as we remember the lives we lost and speak out against hate and gun violence.
In the days and weeks to come we will be announcing further action(s) to ensure that our Latino community and every community is protected against this same type of hatred and violence. We will stand up and speak truth to power.
Our hearts go out to the families in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. In their memory, we resolve to make sure their lives are not forgotten and ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain.
Hasta La Victoria,
LULAC National President
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/