Culture

A White Nationalist Attacked Latinos Near The Border, Here’s A Reminder Of Latino Beauty And Heart

This weekend marked the 8th mass shooting in the United States of 2019 that have left at least 60 people dead. It’s hard for many to feel hopeful of the direction the nation is headed when mass shootings continue to feel more like the norm rather than a cause for concern and a cause for stricter gun laws—especially when white supremacists are specifically killing and targeting communities of color. 

But despite the darkness and the lives that were lost, it’s also important to not completely lose ourselves in it. Highlighting the beauty around us will help us in our fight for a safer country for future generations.

While one border town suffered from a mass shooting, one L.A. journalist reminded us of the “beauty of another border town, Tijuana.” 

Esmeralda Bermudez, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, shared a series of tweets highlighting the beautiful Mexican culture in Tijuana during her stay there. 

“On a day when hate targeted brown people near the border — when so many feel devastated and powerless — I thought the least I could do is show you the joy and beauty of another border town, Tijuana. #ElPasoStrong,” Bermudez tweeted. She was sharing a video of a quinceñera dancing along with what seems to be her father, with the banda blasting in the background. 

On Saturday morning, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, killing at least 20 people. Not even 24 hours later, a shooting in Dayton, Ohio left nine people dead and dozens injured. 

In a series of tweets, Esmeralda Bermudez from the L.A. Times showed us the beauty of our people, of our culture, and the joy folks were feeling in another border town that could have easily been the subject of that mass shooting. 

Bermudez tweeted “while the American side of the beach is silent, on the Mexican side tubas & trumpets sound off across the sand.” 

The L.A. Times journalist highlighted a vibrant place filled with “good people and lots of good food.”

Bermudez’s tweets were refreshing and humanized the folks that white supremacists and racist leaders like Donald Trump demonize day in and day out. 

Still, we can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness as we remember that this is perhaps what the folks and communities affected by the El Paso mass shooting were also like.

According to reports, the gunman left behind a four-page document posted to 8chan that was “filled with white nationalist and racist hatred toward immigrants and Hispanics, blaming immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs and the blending of cultures of the United States.” 

However, it seems to have been lost on the gunman that what is now Texas was once part of Mexico until it joined the U.S. in 1845. According to the Texas Tribune, a new census estimates that “Texas’ Hispanic population growth continues to surpass white population growth, with Hispanics on pace to soon represent plurality.” 

There’s no doubt that it hurts to see our Latinx communities be targeted in such ways and then have innocent victims pay the price of white supremacy. 

It also goes without saying that the current administration and our commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, is to blame for the fact that the gunman felt he had the right and the power to take away the lives of innocent folks simply because he felt they did not “belong here” or should “go back” to their countries. 

As of Monday, August 5, the death toll from the mass shooting that took place in El Paso is at 22 victims. According to BuzzFeed News, David Shimp, chief executive officer at Del Sol Medical Center said earlier today that an elderly woman died late Sunday and another patient this morning. 

According to CNN, “El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza said that the suspect is charged with capital murder and that authorities will seek the death penalty.” The FBI in El Paso is asking anyone who was at the scene of the shooting who might have taken video or pictures to submit them to investigators. 

Lastly, Esmeraldo Bermudez ended her series of tweets with a video of a man playing somber music on his violin—which almost felt like a tribute to those who lost their lives on the other side of the border, in Texas. 

“I hope these scenes from the border brought you some sense of goodness on a tragic day,” she tweeted. “Tomorrow I’ll be joining my colleagues at the @latimes to continue to bring you full coverage of the mass shooting in El Paso. Good night.”

Earlier this morning, the Los Angeles Times also published an article in which many Latinos share that the El Paso shooting this weekend marked a devastating new low in the Trump era. 

“It’s a destructive moment for this country,” one Latino said. “This is the first time when I feel as if our adversaries have declared war against our immigrant community.” 

One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

Things That Matter

One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

Mario Tama / Getty Images

On August 3, 2019, a man entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and killed 23 customers and injured 23 more. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, went to the Walmart with the expressed purpose of killing Mexican and Mexican-Americans. One year later, the community is remembering those lost.

One year ago today, a man killed 23 people in an El Paso Walmart targeting our community.

The Latino community was stunned when Patrick Crusius opened fire and killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas. The gunman wrote a manifesto and included his desire to kill as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans he could in the El Paso Walmart. The days after were filled with grieving the loss of 23 people and trying to understand how this kind of hate could exist in our society.

Representative Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, is honoring the victims today.

Rep. Escobar was on the scene shortly after the shooting to be there for her community. The shooting was a reminder of the dangers of the anti-Latino and xenophobic rhetoric that the Trump administration was pushing for years.

“One year ago, our community and the nation were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of domestic terrorism fueled by racism and xenophobia that killed 23 beautiful souls, injured 22, and devasted all of us,” Rep. Escobar said in a statement. “Today will be painful for El Pasoans, especially for the survivors and the loved ones of those who were killed, but as we grieve and heal together apart, we must continue to face hate with love and confront xenophobia by treating the stranger with dignity and hospitality.”

El Pasoans are coming together today to remember the victims of the violence that day.

Latinos are a growing demographic that will soon eclipse the white communities in several states. Some experts in demographic shifts understand that this could be a terrifying sign for the white population. These changing demographics give life to racist and hateful ideologies.

“When you have a few people of color, the community is not seen so much as a threat,” Maria Cristina Morales, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso, told USA Today about the fear of changing demographics. “But the more that the population grows – the population of Latinos grow for instance – the more fear that there’s going to be a loss of power.”

The international attack is still felt today because of the constant examples of white supremacy still active today.

“It doesn’t occur to you that there’s a war going on, and there’s always been a war going on—the helicopters the barbed wire—but you just kind of didn’t see it,” David Dorado Romo, an El Paso historian who lost a friend in the shooting, told Time Magazine.

The sudden reminder of the hate out there towards the Latino community was felt nationwide that day. The violent attack that was planned out revealed the true cost of that hate that has been pushed by some politicians.

“El Paso families have the right to live free from fear, and I will continue to honor the victims and survivors with action,” Rep. Escobar said in her statement. “Fighting to end the gun violence and hate epidemics that plague our nation.”

READ: As El Paso Grieves Their Loss, Here Is Everything We Know About The Victims Of The El Paso Massacre, Which Were Mostly Latino

Hurricane Hanna Battered Texas But Did It Actually Knock Over Part Of Trump’s Border Wall?

Things That Matter

Hurricane Hanna Battered Texas But Did It Actually Knock Over Part Of Trump’s Border Wall?

Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images

It’s official: hurricane season is in full swing and Texas has been hit hard by the first hurricane of the 2020 season to make landfall in the United States. And it potentially claimed a very high-profile victim: a segment of Trump’s beloved border wall.

On Sunday, a viral video started circulating on Twitter showing a segment of the wall tumbling over in strong winds. However, government officials have since claimed that the video is old news and that Hanna didn’t actually bring down any segment of border wall.

A video that went viral on Twitter on Sunday shows a section of the border wall toppling to the ground amid fierce wind and rain.

As Hurricane Hanna made landfall along the U.S.-Mexico border, ravaging towns and cities in its path – a viral video started to make its rounds on Twitter. The video showed a segment of the border wall falling over in what appeared to be very strong winds, like something you’d find in a hurricane.

The video posted to Twitter by journalist Yadith Valdez on Sunday shows construction workers standing by and watching as fierce gusts knock the steel structure to the ground.

The video served as yet another reminder that Trump’s border wall is useless and detrimental to the regions and people it’s targeting. Some pointed out that just last week, Trump was bragging about his vanity project, calling it ‘the most powerful and comprehensive border wall structure’ in the world.’

Well if this viral video is any proof, that’s simply not true.

However, some have called the validity of the footage into question, noting that it’s unclear when and where it was recorded.

Mexican news outlet Debate claimed in an article that the video was filmed at a section of wall dividing Texas from Ciudad Camargo in the state of Tamaulipas. However, Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff refuted that report in a tweet, saying that Customs and Border Patrol officials told him the video was not recorded in the Rio Grande Valley. 

‘Unclear where it was filmed, but based on desert terrain, daytime recording and style of bollards, I’m guessing these are images of a monsoon out west, prob Arizona,’ Miroff wrote.

And for their part, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement: “The video circulating on social media appears to be from June 2020 when high winds caused several border wall panels that were pending additional anchoring to fall over at a construction site near Deming, New Mexico.”

The clip became the target of widespread ridicule as critics likened the collapse to President Trump’s re-election campaign.

Credit: DAEMMRICH PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty Images

While the debate of where and when the video was recorded will continue to linger on, it is obvious that part of Trump’s expensive border wall between the United States and Mexico was toppled by strong winds at some point and people couldn’t help but make jokes about the construction that was a big part of the president’s campaign four years ago, which he vowed to make Mexico pay for.

Regardless of questions over the origin of the video, Trump critics had a field day with jokes about the collapse. Best-selling author Rick Wilson tweeted: ‘I have a Trump wall joke but it blows.’ 

Another man tweeted in response to Wilson: ‘I have a trump wall joke but I know it will fall flat.’ 

Yet another critic added: ‘I hope the Trump Wall is still under warranty. I’d hate to see Mexico have to pay for it a second time.’

Meanwhile, Hurricane Hanna inflicted major damage across Texas and northern Mexico.

Although many were talking about Hanna’s potential effect on the border wall, many cities and towns in the region were badly hit by the storm. She first made landfall near South Padre Island, Texas as a Category 1 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.

The storm dumped more than 12 inches of rain along the US-Mexico border as it tore through the area with winds of up to 50 miles per hour.  

The section of Texas that was hardest hit is also dealing with a severe outbreak of Covid-19, complicating efforts by officials to respond to the disaster.