Things That Matter

10-Month-Old Baby Shot In The Head By Man Who Was Upset The Child’s Mother Rejected Him

With the various cases of murdered Latina teens flooding news headlines in recent months, there’s no doubt our country has a crisis on its hands. Violence against women remains a prominent issue in the United States. Often times, particularly in today’s political climate where immigrants and Latinos are a target, Latinas often find themselves wrapped up in attacks unleashed by violent partners and bureaucratic red tape.

The latest story of one such incident includes a particularly violent headline from over the weekend.

On Saturday, a man allegedly shot a 10-month-old baby in the head after the child’s mom rejected him at a party in Fresno, Calif.

According to the Fresno Police Department, Marcos Antonio Echartea, 23, fanatically followed Deziree Menagh, 18, at a party. 

The two had met a week prior, and when he saw her at the gathering, he hounded her every move. Echartea turned down the man’s advances, resisting him when he tried to force her on his lap and leaving the party early to get away from him.

“It was very apparent that he wanted a relationship with her,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a news conference Sunday, according to BuzzFeed News.

Menagh left the party with her daughter in the car of a male friend. As the three of them drove off, they stopped while making a U-turn about a block away, when Echartea appeared walking toward them. Near the car, the man reportedly fired three shots into the driver’s side window. The blasts hit Fayth in the side of her head as she sat on her mother’s lap in the passenger seat.

“We have every reason to believe that Marcus knew that baby Fayth was in that vehicle when he fired three rounds into that vehicle,” Dyer said.

The driver rushed to the hospital and called the police. On the phone, a dispatcher informed him there were officers nearby who could care for the baby as they waited for an ambulance.

The baby remains in the hospital, where she is in critical condition after doctors pulled bullet fragments from her head.

“We are hoping and praying that baby Fayth is able to survive this injury, as well as make a full recovery,” Dyer said. “I know the parents are broken. They’re hurting.”

Echartea, who was arrested at his house and charged with three counts of attempted murder, is also a suspect in a similar child shooting “over a female.” On the night of May 27, the man visited the home of his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend and fired his gun numerous times inside. During his attack, he almost hit a one-year-old baby. 

“It’s very apparent that Marcos Echartea has no regard for human life, even a baby,” Dyer said.

The man is currently facing additional felony counts, including assault with a deadly weapon, related to the previous shooting as well.

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There’s A Mobile Día De Muertos Ofrenda Traveling Around Southern California To Commemorate Victims Of Covid-19

Things That Matter

There’s A Mobile Día De Muertos Ofrenda Traveling Around Southern California To Commemorate Victims Of Covid-19

Jan Sochor / Getty Images

Every year around this time, many Latino families setup their ofrendas and set out pictures and objects belonging to their lost loved ones – in celebration of Día de Muertos.

However, this year’s celebrations are looking very different thanks to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Not only have many families recently lost loved ones to the virus, they’re also struggling with ways to pay for the often extravagant celebrations as so many are left without work and income. Others are too afraid to gather with their families for fear that they may spread the virus to others. Meanwhile, in some cities, cemeteries (where many of the celebrations take place) have been closed to the public to avoid further contagion risk.

So, to help bridge that divide some communities are finding new and creative ways to help celebrate their lost loved ones amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A mobile ofrenda will visit some of LA’s neighborhoods most affected by the pandemic.

Día de Muertos takes on a special meaning this year as a deadly pandemic continues to disproportionately affect Latino communities. And although traditional celebrations and events have been canceled, Latino Health Access (a nonprofit that advocates for the health of the local Latino community) plans to bring the celebration to the homes of those most impacted by the virus in Orange County to honor the deceased.

“Many of the events have been canceled, but we still want to honor those people who have passed away this year because of COVID,” Karen Sarabia, program associate for the Latino Health Access COVID-19 response team, told the LA Times.

The group along with a few local artists are converting a 28-foot flatbed truck into the altar, much like a float in the Rose Parade. Residents will be able to take photos with the altar. They can also provide offerings or write down the names of their loved ones and place them on the altar to honor the deceased. 

Ofrendas like this one are a central part of Día de Muertos celebrations.

Credit: Jan Sochor / Getty Images

Giovanni Vazquez, a local artist from Anaheim helping to construct the altar, spoke to the LA Times about the significance of the Day of the Dead. 

“I think it’s important because … this is how we remember all the dead and how we also celebrate the living,” Vazquez said, “This is how we remember that we’re going to go too. No matter which pandemic, no matter what cause, we are also going to die too.”

He continued: “We would like to share the art and try to make people think that death is also colorful and something we can celebrate … Just being thankful that we met the people in our life, even though they have passed, we remember them.”

According to the group, the ofrenda will have the basic components of classical altars in Mexico, where the tradition of Día de Muertos originated. There will be candles, thousands of paper flowers, sugar skulls and many offerings. 

There will be a prominent large skull and several smaller skulls with butterfly wings. Vazquez said those represent “the sacred migration of the living.” Monarch butterflies, which migrate to Mexico in November, are important symbols of Day of the Dead. 

The ofrenda and campaign is more important than ever as Latinos and other minority communities continue to suffer the worst effects of the pandemic.

Latino Health Access is organizing the event as part of the Latino Health Equity Initiative. Orange County launched the program in June in partnership with Latino Health Access after data revealed that the Latino community, particularly in Anaheim and Santa Ana, has taken the brunt of the pandemic in Orange County. 

The Los Angeles Times reported in late September that while Latinos make up 39% of the state’s population, they account for 61% of the state’s cases and 49% of COVID-19 deaths.

Anaheim is 56% Latino and Santa Ana is 77%. The cities account for about 36% of the county’s COVID-19 cases. 

Through the initiative, Latino Health Access is offering testing, outreach, education and referral services. 

California is not alone as cities from El Paso to Chicago create their own Día de Muertos celebrations to commemorate Covid-19 victims.

Credit: Alfonso Castillo Orta / Mexican National Art Museum

At the Mexican National Art Museum in Chicago, the museum has launched it’s exhibit memorializing Latinos who have died of the virus. “Sólo un Poco Aquí: Day of the Dead” honors people who have died from COVID-19 in Chicago and globally, said Antonio Parazan, director of education at the museum.

The exhibit is “paying tribute and remembering … the numerous individuals from our community … during this terrible pandemic,” he said. 

“We’ve had some of the highest number of infections … and a high number of deaths, as well,” Parazan said, noting Latino neighborhoods in Chicago have been among the hardest hit by coronavirus.

Even in Mexico – which has been one of the world’s hardest hit countries – officials are thinking of ways to merge traditional Día de Muertos celebrations with remembrances of Covid-19 victims.

In the town of Xalapa, families are taking photos with a giant Catrina, which is one fo the most iconic symbols of the holiday. And in Mexico City, the cities annual parade is going digital and will feature a special commemoration for Covid-19 victims.

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Willow Smith Calls Out Her Mom Jada Pinkett For Enforcing Machismo While Growing Up With Brother Jaden

Fierce

Willow Smith Calls Out Her Mom Jada Pinkett For Enforcing Machismo While Growing Up With Brother Jaden

Jerod Harris / Getty

Machismo.

If you haven’t experienced it, you’ve definitely seen it. Most Latinas have watched it take form beneath the roof of their very own family homes and have experienced it first hand. From being glaringly aware of how much less time their brothers and papas spend in the kitchen to constantly being told to play less aggressively than the boys, most girls see it at a young age.

The children of celebrities are apparently no different.

Speaking about experiencing double standards in her own household, while growing up with her brother Jaden, Willow Smith got real on the Red Table Talk.

On this week’s Red Table Talk, Willow opened up about experiencing machismo with her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith and her grandmother Adrienne Banfield Norris.

“There is a difference between how Black moms treat their daughters and their sons,” Willow said in a clip. Willow went onto share that in her own experience it extended to “something as simple as getting up at the right time” where her mother would hurry her out of the house before school, Meanwhile Jaden was given more leniency.

“It was like, ‘You better get up. You better get dressed.’ I’d be in my room going like, ‘OK, I gotta get…,'” Willow says while acting stressed and hurried. “But then Jaden is there and she’d be like, ‘Uh, so are you ready to uh…’ and he’d be like, ‘Uh, maybe one moment.'”

Willow spoke about how machismo affected her while she would be “ready at the door” for school. While mimicking Jaden’s pace, and noting how slow he was going, Willow explained that he would be “getting his shoes on” with a lot less urgency.

“That’s true,” Jade laughed, “She might have a point. Because I was like she better be on it. You? Nah.”

Likely, Pinkett’s comment refers to her desire to see her daughter pay more attention and work harder in school.

“For me, I knew that she’s gonna have it twice as hard,” the “Girls Trip” star said. “I needed you to be strong because I know what this world is like for us as Black women… My fear for having a Black daughter and what I felt like she needed to be in this world put me in a position to be a little harder on her.”

And in ways, Pinkett’s reasoning comes from a place of well-meaning. After all, a study from The State of Black Women in Corporate America 2020  found that African-American women are repressed beyond belief in the United States underlining that Black women “who seek promotions at the same rate as white men, are only 58 percent as likely to be promoted to a managerial position and only 64 percent as likely to be hired into such positions. At a disadvantage from the beginning of their careers, Black women see the representation gap continue to widen and end up accounting for only 1.6 percent of vice presidents and 1.4 percent of C-suite executives, while white men hold 57 percent and 68 percent of those positions.”

Red Table Talk airs this Tuesdays at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.

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