Entertainment

Victims Of The El Paso Massacre Received Visits From Edward James Olmos And George López And Their Reactions Are Everything

It’s been two weeks to the day since a white supremacist traveled 10 hours to target Latino shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 22 dead and injured another 25 people. One patient remains in critical condition while another four are stable, but still hospitalized at El Paso’s University Medical Center. A surprise visit from Stand and Deliver star Edward James Olmos and comedian George Lopez certainly caused a positive flurry of emotion in hospital staff and survivors.

El Paso Times reports that there was no live media coverage of their visit, as it was not publicized and took everyone by surprise. The two spent hours just talking to survivors, families of those who did not survive and hospital staff.

“It was a real emotional experience all around,” UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke told El Paso Times. “They just wanted to meet with patients and staff.”

Olmos posted a photo to his Twitter with one of the survivors and her family.

@edwardjolmos / Twitter

“Celebrating life with the survivors of El Paso,” tweeted Mexicano actor Edward J Olmos. “Find a way of helping and uniting with the families of those that lost family members and survivors and their families of Dayton and El Paso.  Find ways of helping!”

Olmos and Lopez were gifted surgical caps signed by all the hospital staff that treated victims that fateful August 3rd.

@umcelpaso / Twitter

“The surgery caps worn by Lopez and Olmos were signed by all the members of UMC’s Emergency Department who were on hand August 3rd after a mass causality shooting in El Paso,” tweeted UMC El Paso. “Their visit today brought smiles and relief to recovering victims and their families.”

Mielke said the Hollywood stars pulled up a chair next to the survivors and listened to them for hours.

@FraireLibrado / Twitter

UMC hospital nurse Priscilla Fraire smiled big to get a selfie in with Lopez and Olmos. Her mom even tweeted out her thanks to the actors, saying, “Thanks George and Edward for caring about our community. #ElPasoStrong #ThankYou”

“Thank you for all you do for our Raza,” tweets a fan named Debbie Lopez Contreras. “I truly appreciate you and all your hard work to make this world a better place. Much  to you and yours”

The El Paso Pride is certainly stronger than ever.

@leon47150662 / Twitter

“Put a firmeza en El Chuco Tejas love my town 915 por vida,” one fan responds to Olmos’ tweet. “Let’s hear it for the good guys,” tweets Liz Perez in response to a comment that wonders why “hospitalized victims of the racist GOP terrorist mass murderer welcomed their visits and adamantly refused to see trump and the missus.”

“Thank you for going to my beloved hometown, Mr. Olmos!” tweets another El Pasoan. “A beautiful, compassionate and wonderful city with people on both sides of the border with our Sister City Ciudad Juarez! You are amazing, as always <3” El Paso is strong because of its Latinos, holding up other Latinos, por siempre.

This hospital staffer expressed gratitude for Olmos’ empathy for El Paso.

@CynthiaTitimtz / Twitter

“Greatly appreciate you for taking the time to come visit my city #ElPaso,” tweeted Cynthia Martinez. “It was a real pleasure to meet you. Thank you for making time to come and support our city. A community that is grieving, that is hurting.” 

“There were lines of nurses and it was chaotic.”

@MikaHayashi9 / Twitter

“They were really friendly,” 23-year-old nursing student Oseleonoleme told El Paso Times. “There were lines of nurses and it was chaotic.”

That chaos led to some staffers missing out on the photo op, and others delighting their daughters who later tweeted the above photo with the caption, “My dad works at UMC El Paso and he sent me this picture today!”

Forever, we honor the victims from the El Paso shooting. 

Andre Anchado / Facebook
  • Jordan Anchondo
  • Andre Anchondo
  • Arturo Benavides
  • Javier Rodriguez
  • Sara Esther Regalado Moriel
  • Adolfo Cerros Hernández 
  • Gloria Irma Marquez
  • María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe
  • Ivan Manzano
  • Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez
  • David Johnson
  • Leonardo Campos Jr. 
  • Maribel Campos (Loya)
  • Angelina Silva-Englisbee
  • Maria Flores
  • Raul Flores
  • Jorge Calvillo Garcia
  • Alexander Gerhard Hoffman
  • Teresa Sanchez
  • Margie Reckard
  • Elsa Libera Marquez
  • Luis Alfonzo Juarez

Rest in Power.

Mexican Communities Around The Country Are Honoring El Paso Victims With Día De Muertos Ofrendas

Things That Matter

Mexican Communities Around The Country Are Honoring El Paso Victims With Día De Muertos Ofrendas

ExploreNMMA / Instagram

Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead is November 2, and ofrendas are popping up all around the country to honor the El Paso shooting victims. The annual Mexican tradition is a time of reflection and celebration of lives lost. Each year ofrendas or altars are created with tokens, photos, and sentimental mementos of those who passed.

This year ofrendas all over the country will commemorate the 22 El Paso shooting victims who were killed in a targeted attack against the Latinx community on August 3, 2019. The incident occurred when a 21-year-old white male drove 11 hours to El Paso, Texas to shoot “Hispanics.” 

The man killed 22 and injured 26 patrons of a Walmart, 20 minutes after posting a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto to a social media website used by white supremacists. The shooter talked of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The rhetoric was not unfamiliar to anyone who has tuned into President Trump’s rallies where he once referred to Mexicans as rapists. 

The Latinx community is still healing and Dia de Muertos is a great opportunity to begin suturing up the wounds. 

The Mexican Cultural Insitute in Washington D.C.

The Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. will have an altar for El Paso victims during their Dia de Muertos celebration on November 2. The event will also include dance, music, food, and performances. 

Mexican artist Enrique Quiroz will create the altar that will honor the 22 people who were killed in the gruesome mass shooting. According to DCist, the altar will also include tributes to prominent Mexican icons that died in 2019 like humanitarian León Portilla, singer José José, and artist Francisco Toledo. 

The Mexic-Arte Museum in Texas altar will honor El Paso victims.

 The Mexic-Arte Museum has encouraged local residents to contribute photos, messages, and sentimental items to their altar. It has been on display since September 13 and will remain until November 24. Meanwhile, the museum puts on the city’s largest and longest-running Day of the Dead celebration on October 26. 

“The violence targeted our community,” Mario Villanueva, the museum’s marketing and events associate, told the Statesman. “As Mexic-Arte Museum, a safe space that amplifies Mexican American and Latino culture, it’s our duty to let the community know that we hear your pain.”

The ofrenda entitled “Ofrenda a Nuestra Comunidad Internacional de El Paso,” has had a positive response in the area with many offering to participate and provide items. 

“Some of them were hurting,” Villanueva said. “They just want to help in any way possible.”

The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago

“Day of the Dead Xicágo is just getting started and more than 90 ofrendas are set up! This altar is fondly dedicated to Felipe Ruiz and Andrea Sebastian Arzate, who are remembered for being loving and caring grandparents. Come see more altars created by people of all walks of life and share in their heartfelt stories,” the museum wrote on Instagram. 

At the “Love Never Dies Ball,” on November 2, the National Museum’s ofrendas will feature El Paso victims as well children separated at the border and those who have died in ICE custody. The Chicago Latinx community has been outspoken about the Trump administration’s immigration policies. 

“The motives behind the El Paso massacre were clearly directed at Latinos, and they were rooted in the damaging rhetoric that came into the national spotlight when Donald Trump began using words like ‘invasion’ and ‘drug dealers and rapists’ to describe immigrants crossing the southern border,” the Latino Policy Forum, a Chicago advocacy organization, said in an August statement. 

Hip Latina reports that other Day of the Dead celebrations in Texas will take place at Houston Community College, University of Texas at El Paso and local churches. Each will honor the victims of the El Paso shooting. 

The El Paso Walmart will open its doors for a memorial. 

The El Paso Walmart where the shooting took place will reopen its doors on November 14. The store will not hold a celebration so much as a memorial for the victims. 

“This will not be a celebratory atmosphere or environment,” Todd Peterson, vice president of Walmart and regional general manager, told KERA news. “We’ll just simply open the doors.”

Peterson also unveiled a mockup of a permanent tribute sculpture that will be on the south side of the parking lot of the store. 

“The focal point…will be a grand candela,” Peterson said. “Twenty-two individual perforated aluminum arcs, grouped together into one, single 30-foot candela, symbolizing unity and emanating light into the sky.”

Family members and survivors of the shooting will be able to view the memorial privately before the public. The Cielo Vista Walmart has not opened its doors since the shooting on August 3. While they may not exactly be Dia de Muertos ofrendas community members have already created a makeshift memorial to the victims. 

The Remarkable Life And Career Of Edward James Olmos, Who Continues To Represent Us Proudly

Entertainment

The Remarkable Life And Career Of Edward James Olmos, Who Continues To Represent Us Proudly

Crosa / Flickr

It’s no secret that the Hollywood industry has a diversity problem. The exclusion of Latinos in the arts was the basis of a study conducted by Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The results, which were released last month, were dismal. As of 2018 “only 4.5 percent of all 47,268 speaking or named characters across the last 12 years were Latino and a mere 3 percent of lead or co-lead actors.” For Latinos, this news is not a surprise. That is why we hold Latino actors, the few that have gotten the chance to work and especially those that have been in the Hollywood industry for decades, with such high regard. For us, there is one such person that not only has been our representation in Hollwyood but has also told the story of historic Latinos.

Edward James Olmos has led a remarkable career in film and television that spans more than 45 years. 

Credit: kenmjohnson / Instagram

This Mexican-American thespian has 121 acting credits to his name, and that does not include his work on Broadway, as a director, or composer. Within his storied career in Hollywood, Olmos has an estimated 29 awards in his field and 27 nominations. It would surprise some people to know that Olmos had aspirations that didn’t include acting at all.

Olmos was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Boyle Heights and in Montebello, California.

Credit: Pinterest

In a 2013 interview, Olmos said he had a strong work ethic thanks to his parents who were always working. He was raised by his great grandparents and strived to try it all from sports to music and even politics. As a young teen, Olmos wanted to be a baseball player. He also the lead singer of a band. “I really had a strong passion for baseball,” Olmos said, who was first caught up by the sport at age five. But admits he didn’t have the talent for it at such a young age. He said it was the divorce of his parents, around the age of seven, that made him want to dedicate himself to the sport. He said baseball taught him a lot about discipline which helped him understand his capabilities as a person. In 1960, around the age of 15 and 16, Olmos began to have another passion. He wanted to be a rock n’ roll star. Even though he said he couldn’t sing very well, he called himself a performer. For two years that he performed in a rock band, Olmos said his father stopped talking to him because he didn’t approve of his new path. 

After years as a stage actor, his breakthrough role came in 1981 in the film “Zoot Suit.”

Credit: crooked_is_the_path / Instagram

In 1964, while in college, Olmos took his first acting class. He said his discipline of baseball and his passion for singing lead him naturally to consider acting. He said he tried auditioning but always got turned down. He kept at it and studied acting under the greats. He started doing theater in Los Angeles, and in 1978 he got a role in the theater production of “Zoot Suit” about the true story of the 1943 riots in Los Angeles that resulted in the arrests of many Latinos. In 1979, Olmos received a Tony Award nomination for his role of  El Pachuco. In 1981, a film version of the play hit theaters and Olmos comprised as El Pachuco once again. 

In 1988, Olmos portrayed the true story of math teacher Jaime Escalante in the beloved film “Stand and Deliver.”

Credit: brandon_bruce_lee / Instagram

The story depicts how students from  James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles overcame immense obstacles to pass AP Calculus tests during their senior year. The film received several Independent Spirit Awards including for Best Male Lead, which Olmos won, and Best Supporting Male for actor Lou Diamond Phillips. Olmos also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Olmos remembers that role fondly and with emotion. “Nobody wanted to give us a penny to tell the story of a Bolivian man helping kids take a math test,” he said earlier this year to Remezcla.  “Watching my performance, I realized what he gave us, it was like catching lightning in a bottle and we did it.” 

Today, Olmos continues to have a stellar body of work from “Battlestar Galactica” to “Portlandia” and “Mayans M.C.”

Some of his most recognized roles including in “Selena,” “Blade Runner,” “American Me,” and “My Family” and the work he is doing today on television has solidified Olmos as an icon in Hollywood and within the Latin community. 

“In 1964, when I started out we weren’t 22 percent of the population of the U.S, we were much less. We were also less than 2 percent of all the content in television and film. Today, with 22 percent of the population, we are still less than 4 percent of all content. We are in a worse place now,” he said. While that is an unfortunate fact, we’re still so thrilled and proud that he continues to represent us today. 

READ: 30 Years After Being Released, Here’s Where The Cast Of ‘Stand And Deliver’ Are Today