In the aftermath of this past weekend’s white supremacist terror attack on Mexican-Americans and Mexicans in El Paso, Latinos nationwide are speaking up, denouncing the racist and xenophobic, and reaffirming a different vision of America, one that works to extend freedom, justice and equality to one and all – regardless of birthplace and background.
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice,
As Trump continues to sow division with no regard for the consequences, Latinos and communities of color across the nation are standing up to his xenophobia and hateful rhetoric saying enough is enough. Latinos are uniting to stand up to hatred, to stand up for one another, and to stand together for an America that is better than this. As Trump travels to Dayton and El Paso today, he should remember that his words have consequences and that Americans across the country are watching; this country needs to heal, not hear more divisiveness and hateful rhetoric.
Below, we excerpt some of the brave Latinos speaking out against the hatred, racism, and bigotry of the El Paso and Dayton attacks:
Many will not want to hear or believe this: Hispanics in this country are under attack. Black and brown people in this country are under attack. Immigrants in this country are under attack. And President Trump is fanning the flames of hate, division and bigotry directed at us all — immigrants and U.S. citizens alike. Though the attack has been pervasive for many people in this country for years, it is becoming an epidemic that is quickly infecting more communities and posing a real threat to our country. The president is also providing cover for white nationalists, explicitly endorsing hate speech and tacitly endorsing violence.
We, along with dozens of Latino leaders, demand leadership from both political parties, call on them to stand with all people in our country and proudly acknowledge that the diversity of our country has been our greatest strength. Our leaders must have the courage to stand tall against this hate, not just in words, but also in actions that protect their fellow Americans.
… We are standing up for the soul of this country. And we have a lot of healing to do. But we are at a critical crossroads: Are we going to continue to tolerate the slayings of our fellow citizens and human beings based on their religion, national origin or skin color? Are we going to allow ourselves to be divided and separated? We think we are better than that. We know we are better than that.
Trump’s three-part strategy has been made pretty clear: Dehumanize Latinos with hateful rhetoric; strip away federal protections that safeguard our rights; and promote policies that marginalize our families and stoke division, fear and violence.
….Mr. Trump has not done this alone. He has a powerful group of enablers among Republican leaders in Washington, some of whom on the campaign trail called his vile language “bigoted,” “offensive” and “un-American” but who today can’t seem to find their voices or their backbones. Their silence in the face of increased hate and violence amounts to complicity.
For years we have dreaded this day. What we saw Saturday in El Paso is directly connected to the continuing, hate-driven rhetoric and policies coming out of the White House. Violence is a terrifying but not unexpected outcome when our nation’s leader tries to normalize hate.
….UnidosUS, the organization of which I am president, believes it is long past time for a thoughtful dialogue that involves all communities who have been pitted against each other. Such a dialogue would seek to not only challenge hateful rhetoric but also to elevate the values of our pluralistic society and advance equal opportunity for all. And I can assure you that if other communities are willing to join us, Latinos are prepared to lead the way.
This isn’t the America that I was taught to love by my immigrant parents…
This brown skin will continue to glow against the darkness that has fallen in America because I also see the America that had hundreds of people lined up in El Paso to donate blood. I see Army Private Glendon Oakley Jr., who risked his own life to take several children to safety. I see the hundreds of people who have donated nearly half a million dollars to my scholarship fund to help undocumented immigrants attend college.
I see that America, and that is the one I will continue to fight for.
Working with immigrants for 30 years, Pablo Alvarado has lived through decades of antagonism toward Latinos. It came in political waves that washed over California, Arizona and other states. There was Proposition 187 in the 1990s, the Minuteman protests, “America’s toughest sheriff” Joe Arpaio and his hard-line policing tactics.
Nothing compares to the reality Latinos are facing today, Alvarado said.
“It’s a destructive moment for this country,” said the executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “This is the first time when I feel as if our adversaries have declared war against our immigrant community.”
“We have to fight against it, to be intelligent and find ways to defend ourselves — not with fear or hatred in our hearts,” he said.
“At least for Latinos, in some way, it’s the death of the American dream,” Dario Aguirre, 64, a Mexican-American lawyer in Denver and a registered Republican, said about the impact of the killings on him and those around him.
…“Many clients tell me, ‘We’re the new Jews, we’re just like the Jews,’” Mr. Aguirre said. “It’s quite a transition from being invisible to being visible in a lethal way. It’s something new to my community. We are used to the basic darkness of racism, not this.”
…“I live in this terror for my grandkids,” said Ms. Rodriguez, who now lives with her mother in Century Village, a large retirement community in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She said two of her grandchildren happened to be at a Walmart in Louisiana when the El Paso massacre unfolded. “This is not the United States that I grew up in,” she said.
…“It’s really hard to be alive as an immigrant right now and to not be sick and exhausted,” she said. “It feels like being hunted.”