I took this photo of a mural located in downtown El Paso. It reminds me of how resilient El Pasoans are
August 4, 2019 will always be one of the saddest days of my life.
On a hot Saturday afternoon on August 4, 2019, a gunman drove 600 miles, eight hours hours across a lonely Texas roadway, through desert, and entered the Gateway Walmart in El Paso. Carrying a loaded 7.62 caliber rifle, he began randomly shooting El Pasoans and Juarenses alike, who had been shopping on one of the busiest days of the summer. People panicked and a stampede-like crowd fled through every door they could find, ending up at the Cielo Vista Mall, directly behind the Walmart. When the gunman was done he hopped back into his car and fled, leaving 20 people dead or dying at Walmart. In all, 22 souls died.
That Walmart is one of the busiest in the country, serving residents from two cities, two countries and two cultures. El Paso and Ciudad Juárez are one community, three million people from two countries speaking two languages who come together joined, not separated, by the Rio Grande River, forming something far greater, more powerful than the sum of our parts.
I love this wonderful border town, my hometown of El Paso.
My first job as a 16 year old was at the Cielo Vista Mall and on a typical trip home, I shop there and at the Walmart where the mass shooting took place. This mass murderer who drove eight hours to El Paso knew nothing about how great this community is and the values practiced by many there. That hateful white nationalist killed more people in one day, more murders in just a few moments that afternoon than El Paso has had in an entire year.
The killer wrote a Manifesto stating that his intent was to preserve his culture, which he believed was being replaced by Mexican Americans and other immigrants. My brother sent it to me. I read it. I cried, then I sobbed. His words hurt my heart so much. 💔
Everyone has heard the guy at the White House's own words about the invasion of immigrants and we've seen his smile and laughter when someone recently suggested that we shoot immigrants. He needs to earn our respect.
Please hear what I have to say: Do not face Trump in anger. Turn away from him in silent and peaceful protest. Turn to remember the victims of the massacre. Turn toward El Paso and its dignity in the face of hate.
Mexican Americans are not going anywhere. United States is our country too, despite this murderous hate spewed against immigrants. As much as others try to speak ill about Mexican Americans or stereotype us to gain political power, we will fight to have a voice, we will continue to tell our stories, and Gente Unida, you must go out to vote.