Things That Matter

One Thousand People Ran Across the US-Mexico Border and the Border Patrol was Cool with It

More than 1,000 people gathered in El Paso this weekend for Run Internacional.

Running into Mexico today! #runinternacional #10k #elpaso #juarez

A photo posted by D.J. Sevigny (@deej717) on

Photo Credit: @deej717 / Instagram

It was a 10k run that took participants from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez.

Reenacting the run. #runinternacional #runinternational #10K #itsallgoodep #elpaso #juarez

A photo posted by Carlos Martínez-Cano (@hyperopic) on

It was the first time runners were allowed to cross the US-Mexico border since 9/11.

The run was organized by the El Paso Community Foundation and the office of U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

https://instagram.com/p/6IU-zTrUlC/

O’Rourke said he hoped the event would give people a different impression of the US-Mexico border.

run-internacional-1
Photo Credit: Congressman Beto O’Rourke / Facebook

O’Rourke told the El Paso times: “In this time of Donald Trump, it’s important we remind ourselves and the country at large just how wonderful the border is and what a significant part in America’s success the border has been.”

O’Rourke even wore a Trump-style hat with a message for for the GOP candidate:

run-internacional-hat
Photo Credit: Congressman Beto O’Rourke / Facebook

“The border makes America great.”

READ: Beautifully Weird People You Only Find at Neon Desert

Many El Pasoans were grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with their neighbors in Juárez.

el-paso-marathon

And who wouldn’t want to run across the border for tamales and champurrado?

What do you think about this historic event? mitú wants to know. Leave a comment below. 

A New Study Finds That Mexicans Are Dying Because Of Guns Illegally Coming In From The U.S.

Things That Matter

A New Study Finds That Mexicans Are Dying Because Of Guns Illegally Coming In From The U.S.

Jay Heike / Unsplash

The conversation of gun control is back on the consciousness of many Americans after the deadly shooting of 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The 21-year-old gunman of the El Paso shooting reportedly chose a powerful AK-style rifle to commit what is being called “the deadliest attack targeting Latinos in recent U.S. history.”  However, these types of weapons have also made their way across the U.S.-Mexico border where many are being brought there illegally by mostly American citizens.

In 2018, the homicide rate in Mexico hit a record high of 35,964, which is up 12 percent from the year before, according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography. Of those killings, at least 20,005 were gun-related deaths.

Credit: @bejaminnorton / Twitter

As the number of homicides has risen in Mexico due to gun violence there is a growing sense of urgency from Mexican officials to see something get done. The AK-47 has been known to be the gun of choice for cartel groups and is being used to kill countless Mexican citizens, every week. 

As these powerful assault rifles make their way illegally from the U.S. into Mexico, they are being used in cartel-related violence and drug trafficking efforts. The overwhelming majority of guns used by drug cartels in the country’s deadly turf come illegally from the U.S., since the Mexican army is the only legal seller in the country.

According to the San Diego Union- Tribune, the illegal trafficking of these powerful weapons has fueled the already increasingly dangerous and deadly conditions in the country. The underground market for the weapons is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and will only keep rising. 

Jack Riley, a retired DEA agent, told the Union-Tribune that these cartel groups are choosing these U.S.-made weapons for two primary reasons: their efficiency and because the weapons are a status symbol. He also says that the majority of these funneled weapons are passing through Mexican ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, which includes on the busiest, the San Ysidro-Tijuana port.

“It is really important to these criminal organizations, who stay in business by the threat of violence and through the use of violence; and the tools that they prefer to do that with are American-made guns,” Riley told the Union-Tribune. “There is a tremendous market for them and unfortunately there’s a ton of people in the United States willing to do business with some of the cartels.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is now urging the United States to “control the indiscriminate sale of weapons” after recent mass shootings.

Credit: @jennfranconews / Twitter

The shooting in El Paso, Texas has prompted President Lopez Obrador to put pressure on the U.S. to curb the gun proliferation that is now taking the lives of Mexican citizens. He has also mentioned that the Mexican government was looking into the possibility of accusing the El Paso shooter of “terrorism” and requesting his extradition to face charges in Mexico.

“We are very respectful of what other governments decide, but we think that these unfortunate events, which occurred in the U.S., should lead to reflection, analysis and the decision to control the indiscriminate sale of weapons,” Lopez Obrador said at a news conference in Mexico City last Monday.

Similar to the U.S., citizens in Mexico have the same right to bear arms but when it comes to the sale of weapons, the country has tighter restrictions. Most citizens are only able to purchase lighter handguns or nothing more powerful than a .38 caliber gun as assault weapons are banned. Also, the sale of weapons from one citizen to another is prohibited.

The numbers show that the gun problem in America had crossed over across the border as 70 percent of guns seized across all of Mexico have U.S. origins, According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Credit: @frankluntz / Twitter

Mexico is in the midst of turbulent times as the number of people murdered hit more than 33,000 people last year, a record high. This was especially the case for Tijuana, where the popular tourist city that saw more than 2,500 homicides just last year. This gave the city the unwanted distinction and title of “the most violent city in the world,” where almost every single gun that was seized by police since 2016 came from the U.S., according to the city’s chief of police.

There is an “importance of going after both of these things, not just immigration, narcotics, the flow of illegal money, but the tools with which these criminal organizations rely,” Riley told the Tribune. “And for far too long there hasn’t been enough emphasis both by the Mexicans and to a certain extent by us, for a variety of political reasons, to really go after the gun smugglers.”

Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here.

READ: This Heartbreaking Interview With An 11-Year-Old Girl Sees Her Pleading For Her Parents To Not Be Deported

This All-Female Mariachi Group Won’t Let Trump And Threats Of Shootings Keep Them From Performing

Entertainment

This All-Female Mariachi Group Won’t Let Trump And Threats Of Shootings Keep Them From Performing

Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas / Facebook

A week after the El Paso, Texas shootings, there’s no denying that the Latino community at the border town and across the nation remains gripped by both grief, fear, and anger. Threats have been made against Wal-Marts across the country and at least one White Nationalist has traveled to El Paso to inspire further fear in migrants and Latinx folk. It only serves to further the trauma that El Paso natives are feeling and — in doing so — allows racists to win by compromising our way of life.

While it’s extremely understandable to give in to this fear, one group of mujeres are fighting to live on their own terms.

Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas, a 14 member, all-female mariachi band, has declared that they will continue to perform despite the increased hate aimed at Latinx folk.

Twitter / @CynthiaPompa

Despite their defiance, the group admits that they have felt vulnerable to attacks because of how visible the mariachi group is. Lilly Sanchez, the woman who has led the group since 2002, spoke with NBC NEWS about their situation.

“What is more Hispanic than wearing a mariachi outfit?” she asked. ”We certainly feel like we have a target on our back, but we still have to do our job, so we do our job.”

The mariachi group played for counter-protesters back in February when Donald Trump came to El Paso and held a rally for his border wall. During the El Paso Massacre memorial, another mariachi group named Puesta del Sol played a classic Juan Gabriel song; showing just how integrated mariachi is into the El Paso community.

Still, there’s no denying that their public personas draw a certain amount of attention that can expose them to violence and hate.

Twitter / @ChordsofPeace

The fear is still very real and it resulted in one member quitting the mariachi group after the attack in El Paso.

“It’s still fresh, it’s very fresh,” Sanchez admitted in the interview with NBC. “We still pass by that Walmart every single day, several times a day, so it’s a reminder that it just happened, and yeah, we’re feeling afraid, we’re feeling targeted after this.”

Like many El Paso citizens, members of Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas are finding it hard to return to normal life.

Twitter / @votolatino

Violinist for Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas, Karyme Perea, acknowledged to NBC NEWS that she finds it hard to leave her home following the attack. However, the musician says she draws strength from the people of El Paso and the fact that the man who attacked her community was an outsider. The alleged shooter is said to have driven eleven hours from the Dallas area to attack the border town.

“I also know that we still have to keep on going, and I trust the city,” Perea explained. “It was from someone on the outside. No one in the city would actually do that, and I put that trust back into the people and that’s what makes me go outside every single day.”

The band’s youngest member, high school student Regina Hernandez, has an extra layer of anxiety with school returning to session in the upcoming days. The guitarrón player shared her anxieties in the NBC NEWS interview.

“There’s times where I feel very nervous to even go to school because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she admitted. “There’s times where we have to … go on with it, pretend like we’re still okay, we’re still strong enough to.”

Still, the group of strong mujeres know that they are a symbol of the Latinidad and need to be unified and reliable for their community.

Twitter / @BetoORourke

Members of Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas understand that they can’t allow fear to control them any longer than it already has. The people of El Paso need to be able to move on in their grief and in their lives. Only by living life to its fullest potential will survivors honor the 22 who are lost and condemn the man who tried to destroy their community.

“We’re not going to let him win and take away our security” Sanchez declared. “But if we stay home and we let this change our lives, his racism wins.”

Reactions to Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas stance have been supportive and have included expressions of pride.

Twitter / @JoseLagniton

As this tweet suggests, mariachi music is just as American as country, rock and roll, and pop music. To attack an institution like mariachi is to attack not only Mexico but also the Southwestern United States where it is so popular.

This tweet declares support for these women, who make beautiful music in both times of celebration and sorrow.

Twitter / @Czazman

There is nothing punishable about making music. Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas and other mariachi groups should be supported and celebrated for continuing to show up for the Latinidad during this hard time. We hope these mujeres and all El Paso citizens get the help and support they need so they can continue to make the music that moves our communities.

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