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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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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Teammates Give Friend One Last Soccer Goal To Honor His Life After Being Killed By Police

Things That Matter

Teammates Give Friend One Last Soccer Goal To Honor His Life After Being Killed By Police

@memo_schutz / Twitter

There are protests against police brutality taking place across the world. The death of George Floyd sparked global anger about how people are treated by police officers. In Oaxaca, the people offered a touching tribute to a young boy killed by police.

This was the scene of a funeral in Oaxaca, Mexico honoring a teenage boy.

The young boy, identified as Alexander Martinez, was killed by municipal police in Oaxaca. Martinez was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Mexico and had been back in Oaxaca for four years. The young boy was a soccer player with a promising future.

People immediately took notice of the phrase over the goal.

Martinez’s teammates gave him a chance to score one last goal before being buried. The team met at the field where they played and he scored one last goal.

People who have seen the tweet are stricken with the irony that the goal has the words “Un Gonierno para Todos.” This translates to “A Government for Everyone.” The boy’s death, to some people, proves the hollowness of the slogan.

People are comparing this young man’s death to the death of George Floyd.

While the circumstances are much different, people are angered that the young boy was killed by the police for no reason. There is no concrete explanation as to why Martinez was shot.

It has been reported that Martinez and a friend were at the convenience store buying a soda when they were shot by police. People believe that it was a case of mistaken identity turned deadly when the boys ran from police who were shooting from a squad car.

The tribute is a touching example of athletics for some.

The video is very emotional. After the goal is scored, the teammates rush the coffin and pile on top grieving for their friend’s untimely death.

Rest in peace, Martinez.

Our thoughts are with your friends and family.

READ: A Louisiana Cop Has Been Fired After Saying It Was ‘Unfortunate’ That The Coronavirus Hasn’t Killed More Black People

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