Things That Matter

El Paso Widower Who Invited Everyone To His Wife’s Funeral Donates Thousands Of Flowers To Honor All 22 Victims Of The El Paso Massacre

It’s been a little over two weeks since a terrorist upended lives when he attacked an El Paso Walmart, killing 22 people. Since then, there has been an outpouring of grief and pain but along with it a community banding together amid an outpouring of support. 

Over the weekend, that cycle of grief and support continued as many of the remaining victims were finally laid to rest. 

One El Paso funeral home director put together the ultimate send off for all 22 victims, organizing a caravan of hearses that convened at the makeshift memorial. 

Twenty-two hearses carried flowers to the makeshift memorial outside Walmart.

Perches, who organized the funeral for an El Paso widower who made headlines when he invited the entire city to his wife’s service, reached out to other area funeral homes to organize 22 hearses — one for each person killed — to deliver flowers to the makeshift memorial at Walmart, which has become a place to mourn and remember. One final procession.

On Sunday, the hearses left La Paz and followed a police escort for the five mile procession to the memorial.

There were so many flowers at La Paz that it took nearly an hour for about 100 volunteers to load the hearses.

The flowers were donated from the El Paso widower made famous when he invited the entire city to his wife’s funeral.

There were 22 hearses, representing the 22 victims of the shooting, that carried more than 1,000 floral arrangements sent by people around the world for Margie Reckard’s funeral service and burial — which were held on Friday night and Saturday.

Salvador Perches told local ABC affiliate KVIA, “I spoke with (Reckard’s) husband about the idea, and he felt this would be a fitting tribute to his wife and to the other victims,” Perches said. “Contact was then made to all of the other participating funeral homes and all of them agreed that this can serve as a gesture of unity and a sense of closure for all of the funerals that happened from this tragedy.”

People who saw the caravan pass by took to social media to share their emotions.

Cars stopped in both directions as the 22 hearses passed. People captured the moment on cell phones. Some held small American flags and removed their hats.

“I just got chills,” Sunset Funeral Homes Director Christopher Lujan told CNN in an interview. “Seeing 22 hearses is just unbelievable.”

The hearses unloaded the flowers at the makeshift memorial site outside the Walmart where the attack took place.

The makeshift memorial at Walmart sprang up a day after the shooting. People have gathered to pray and sing amid the candles, rosaries and white crosses with handwritten names of the dead.

Funeral directors invited mourners at the memorial site to unload the arrangements. They took the flowers and arranged them around the crosses. “Everybody wanted to participate in one way or another,” said Gomez, who runs the social services non-profit Operation H.O.P.E., in an interview with CNN.

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Here Is The Selena Funeral Footage You Might Not Have Seen

Entertainment

Here Is The Selena Funeral Footage You Might Not Have Seen

On April 3, 1995, Selena Quintanilla was put to rest after being shot and killed by her fan club president, Yolanda Saldívar. Selena’s funeral was open to the public so fans could bid La Reina De Tejano a final farewell. Let’s take a moment to remember her. Here Is The Selena Funeral Footage You Might Not Have Seen

Selena never built walls separating her from her fans. On the day of her funeral, it was no different.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Thousands of friends, family, and fans made their way to Corpus Christi, Texas to wish Selena a loving farewell. Mourners gathered at the church where her body was laid in rest for all of her loved ones to see and pay respect to.

La Reina de Tejano music was laid to rest on April 3, 1995.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Family, friends, and fans were devastated by the sudden and tragic death of the singer. Her career had just started to cross over into English-language music and people were falling in love with her all over again.

She was buried dressed in the iconic purple we have come to associate her with.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

One of Selena’s last moments was performing at the Houston Astrodome in front of thousands of fans. The image of the singer in her purple jumper is one of the most resounding images fans have of Selena all these years later.

Many people lined up to pay their respect of the beloved Tejano singer.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

“She was a great role model for everybody,” a fan told AP.

The world looked on as somber pallbearers carried Selena’s casket to her final resting place.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

The once vibrant light of Selena Quintanilla was not extinguished when she died. She might not be with us physically anymore but her fans have kept her alive with her music and love.

Before lowering her casket, funeral-goers left hundreds of long-stemmed white roses, her favorite.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

The roses were a touching homage to the singer and the love she shared with her fans.

It was truly a sorrowful moment for all those who loved and cherished the singer.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Hundreds of people lined the streets to get a glimpse of the hearse carrying Selena’s casket to the cemetery. Everyone was trying to get one final look at the special singer who changed the face of Latinos in music.

As in life, Selena’s funeral was open to the public so everyone touched by the singer could bid her farewell.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Her importance to the Latino community cannot be stated enough. She was the first singer to go mainstream that looked like her community and represented her community with such grace.

The world watched heartbroken family and friends said goodbye.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

The heartbreak was felt around the world as all of her fans watched those closest to her giving her a final goodbye.

And a devastated husband tried to come to terms with his unimaginable loss.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Chris Perez has continued to keep Selena alive through his own words and actions.

Watch the full funeral footage below. [Warning: You will see open casket images of Selena in the video.]

READ: This Old Interview with Selena’s Killer Will Probably Send Shivers Down Your Spine

Share this story with your friends by tapping the share button below and keep the Quintanilla family in your thoughts and prayers this week.

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Hate Crimes Towards Latinos Spiked in 2019; Overall Highest They’ve Been in a Decade

Things That Matter

Hate Crimes Towards Latinos Spiked in 2019; Overall Highest They’ve Been in a Decade

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

In April of 2019, Connie and Michelle Pineda moved into the quiet suburban neighborhood of Lake Forest in Louisville, Kentucky. At first, their lives were peaceful and uneventful. But soon, the family began to receive a barrage of mysterious harassment.

First, it was the odd chemical burns they found on their front lawn–marks that seemed man-made. Then, some neighborhood kids called the Pineda children a racial slur (the Pinedas are a mixed Latino-Filipino family).

Soon, Connie and Michelle Pineda were waking up to a bright orange swastika accompanied by the n-word spray painted on their driveway.

Photo: Michela Connie Pineda/Facebook

The Pinedas checked their security cameras and discovered the culprit: their neighbor, 52-year-old Suzanne Craft. The Pinedas reported Craft to the authorities, and she was charged with criminal mischief and sentenced to seven days in jail. But that hasn’t stopped her from continuing the harassment. A bag of bullets recently appeared on the Pinedas’ front lawn. It came with a note that read: Get out.

“They live in fear,” the Pinedas’ attorney Vanessa Cantley told The Washington Post. “They have five children and three of them are old enough to know exactly what’s happening. They won’t go out and play in the yard. They won’t go out to walk the neighborhood. They are basically prisoners in their own home. The whole family sleeps in the living room, where there are no windows, because they just don’t know what this woman is capable of.”

Photo: Michela Connie Pineda/Facebook

Unfortunately, stories like this are becoming more and more common in the United States.

The FBI released their annual report detailing hate crime statistics and the data showed that hate crimes have reached their highest level in more than a decade. The report also showed the highest amount of hate-motivated killing since the FBI began collected this type of data in the early 1990s.

According to the FBI report, there were 51 hate-motivated killings in 2019. Twenty-two of those murders were from the El Paso Shooting.

In August of 2019, a gunman open-fired on patrons at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. It was later discovered that the shooting was racially-motivated. Previous to his killing spree, the shooter wrote on Facebook that Mexicans were “invading” the United States.

Hate crimes against Latinos spiked to 527 in 2019, up from 485 in 2018. Many critics are attributing the rise in hate crimes to the divisive culture we live in–much of which is fueled by President Trump’s racist anti-Latino rhetoric. “When the president calls [Latinos] rapists and criminals, what do you think is gonna happen?” said one Twitter user in response to the news. “His words have meaning to a lot of people and their actions are harmful for our society.”

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