Latino leaders pen letter of solidarity for community after El Paso massacre
A white supremacist drove from a Dallas suburb to the Texas-Mexico border town of El Paso where on the morning of Aug. 3 he killed 22 people and injured more than two dozen others. The massacre shook the El Paso community and its predominantly Latino community who was specifically targeted by a disturbed man who believed Latinos are invading the U.S. Nationwide, the Latino community collectively wept for the lives lost and the victims’ families who will spend lifetimes healing from the nightmarish tragedy.
Shortly after the mass shooting, more than 200 Latino actors, musicians, activists and labor and civil rights leaders penned a letter of support for the Latino community that was published in leading Spanish and English publications such as the New York Times, El Nuevo Herald, La Opinión and El Diario. Among the countless signees were iconic singer Jennifer Lopez, groundbreaking activist Dolores Huerta and migrant workers’ rights leader Mónica Ramírez.
The letter highlighted the recent attacks against the Latino community, including the mass shooting in El Paso, the sweeping U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that resulted in the detainment of 680 individuals in Mississippi, continued separation of migrant families and the inhumane living conditions of immigrants held in detention facilities.
“The Latinx community is known for being loving and welcoming. This letter embodies who we are as a community and the way that we are leading to unite our nation and guide us during these difficult times,” said Ramírez, founder and president of Justice for Migrant Women. “This message is not about policy or political parties. It is about human decency and care. We are asking people to sign on to love — and it is working. We hope that our allies and other community members will recognize our shared values and join us for the betterment of our entire country.”
Superstore actress America Ferrera said in a press release her heart breaks every time she hears her community is the target of xenophobic and racist verbal and physical attacks. She says that as an American, she fears for the future of her country when basic decency and respect for human life seems to be lacking in society and in governmental policies.
Eva Longoria, a fellow Latina actress and executive producer of Grand Hotel, said the United States is facing a moral crisis.
“We chose to use this moment to raise our voices and speak up,” Longoria said. “Integrity starts with looking in the mirror and this letter calls on everyone, not just our community, to choose humanity and decency over hate and violence.”
Orange is the New Black actress Dianne Guerrero, who shared her personal experience with family separation in her debut book “In the Country We Love,” said the letter is also meant to remind Americans of their shared humanity.
“We don’t have to look far to see what family separation and hateful rhetoric is doing to the people in our country. If we do not act, we will be complicit in one of history’s greatest tragedies,” Guerrero pleaded.
At its core, the letter is a message of solidarity and love to the Latino community and a resilient commitment to fight for the Latino community’s rights and dignity while working to improve the United States.
“Though real pain and fear are sweeping through our communities, we remain powerful,” the letter states in part. “The indignities and cruelty we have endured will never change the truth that the contributions we make to this country are invaluable. Our humanity must be respected. And, we won’t stop organizing for ourselves, our children, and for the soul of this nation.
“To our allies who feel our community’s pain, we need you,” the letter reads. “We cannot make change without your voices and action. We call on you to speak out loudly against hate, to contribute your resources to organizations that support our community, and to hold our leaders accountable. We ask you to join us in building a better country where we are all safe and valued.”
To view the full-length version of the letter in both English and Spanish, click here.