Things That Matter

Immigrant And Father Douglas Rodríguez Is One Of The Victims Of The Tragic Jersey City Shooting

Douglas (Miguel) Rodríguez had spent the last three years in the United States building a community when he was gunned down by a reported act of domestic terrorism at a Jersey City Jewish deli. Rodríguez was one of three victims of what is believed to have been an anti-Semitic and anti-police shooting by suspects David Anderson and Francine Graham. At one point, David Anderson was a follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a Black supremacist group. Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said that Anderson and Graham started their spree in a cemetery just a mile away from the deli, where they encountered and killed Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals. Then, they drove a U-Haul van down to JC Kosher Supermarket, parked across the street, and Anderson was reportedly seen stepping outside the driver’s side with a long gun. Anderson began firing as he entered the market with Graham trailing in his footsteps. For hours, Anderson and police engaged in a shootout that finally ended when police used an armored vehicle to drive into the entrance of the store. Police found several firearms and even a pipe bomb within the suspects’ possession. Both suspects were found dead inside the store

Rodríguez was caught in the crossfires. He had been working at the JC Supermarket for about a year when Anderson and Graham allegedly opened fire. 

The family has organized a GoFundMe to raise money for Rodríguez’s funeral and for the family and maintain financial normalcy for young Amy.

CREDIT: VANESSA REYES / GOFUNDME

The Rodríguez family arrived in the United States from Ecuador just three years ago in search of a better life. Rodríguez’s niece, Vanessa Reyes, says that Rodríguez’s “first goal was to allow his daughter to have a chance of a future through education. He exemplified hard work by continuously working and providing for his family. Regardless of the hours he worked, Miguel seemed to find the time to come together with family. His desire to create a better sense of family for his daughter, Amy, remained his number one objective.” Reyes has organized a GoFundMe to help his wife, Martha, and daughter, Amy, bury Rodríguez in his hometown of Guayaquil, Ecuador, and to help keep them on their feet while they mourn and search for another source of income.

At the time of publication, the family has raised $146,550 in less than a week.

The family was already calling Rodríguez a hero before witnesses came forward to affirm that Rodríguez was a hero to them, too.

CREDIT: @XAVIER_RUIZ21 / TWITTER

How are you going to go like this uncle?” Rodríguez’s nephew tweeted on the day of his death in Spanish. “You are an icon and un referente in the family … a role model … you do not know the pain and emptiness I feel at the moment … but I will remember you like this with a GREAT SMILE !! As you always were! ; An inseparable kiss and hug over there to heaven. I love you Miguel!”

Several days later, the Rodríguez family met with members of the Jewish community to learn about Miguel’s final moments. “Miguel died after heroically putting the lives of others before his,” Reyes said in a fundraiser update. “For some reason, this does not come as a shock to the family. Miguel has always been the man in the family to selflessly put others before him. Miguel’s life has followed a pattern of selflessness.”

“We will miss Miguel’s laughter and his compassion,” Reyes said, adding that, “Most importantly, we will miss the sense of security he provided for those he loved.”

CREDIT: @XAVIER_RUIZ21 / TWITTER

“Our family has been maintaining a sense of normalcy and comfort through these tough times by being together,” Reyes wrote. “He was a God-loving, honest and hard-working person who was always available to help others,” she added. Alongside Rodríguez, both Mindy Ferencz, 31, and Moshe Deutsch, 24, were killed in the attack. Ferencz and her husband managed the JC Kosher Supermarket. The two other victims were members of the Hasidic Jewish community. City footage shows the shooters driving slowly down the street from the cemetery shooting to the supermarket, passing several pedestrians, offering more evidence that the Kosher market was a target for the attack. Media outlets are reporting anti-police and anti-Jewish sentiments on his social media pages. 

We are mitú has not seen the alleged anti-police posts and cannot attest to whether they were violent or simply Black Lives Matter posts. You can donate to Douglas Miguel Rodriguez’s GoFundMe here.

READ: Horrific Footage Shows Police Officers Shooting Teen In The Back Of The Head And His Partner’s Response Is Shocking

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One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

Things That Matter

One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

Mario Tama / Getty Images

On August 3, 2019, a man entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and killed 23 customers and injured 23 more. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, went to the Walmart with the expressed purpose of killing Mexican and Mexican-Americans. One year later, the community is remembering those lost.

One year ago today, a man killed 23 people in an El Paso Walmart targeting our community.

The Latino community was stunned when Patrick Crusius opened fire and killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas. The gunman wrote a manifesto and included his desire to kill as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans he could in the El Paso Walmart. The days after were filled with grieving the loss of 23 people and trying to understand how this kind of hate could exist in our society.

Representative Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, is honoring the victims today.

Rep. Escobar was on the scene shortly after the shooting to be there for her community. The shooting was a reminder of the dangers of the anti-Latino and xenophobic rhetoric that the Trump administration was pushing for years.

“One year ago, our community and the nation were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of domestic terrorism fueled by racism and xenophobia that killed 23 beautiful souls, injured 22, and devasted all of us,” Rep. Escobar said in a statement. “Today will be painful for El Pasoans, especially for the survivors and the loved ones of those who were killed, but as we grieve and heal together apart, we must continue to face hate with love and confront xenophobia by treating the stranger with dignity and hospitality.”

El Pasoans are coming together today to remember the victims of the violence that day.

Latinos are a growing demographic that will soon eclipse the white communities in several states. Some experts in demographic shifts understand that this could be a terrifying sign for the white population. These changing demographics give life to racist and hateful ideologies.

“When you have a few people of color, the community is not seen so much as a threat,” Maria Cristina Morales, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso, told USA Today about the fear of changing demographics. “But the more that the population grows – the population of Latinos grow for instance – the more fear that there’s going to be a loss of power.”

The international attack is still felt today because of the constant examples of white supremacy still active today.

“It doesn’t occur to you that there’s a war going on, and there’s always been a war going on—the helicopters the barbed wire—but you just kind of didn’t see it,” David Dorado Romo, an El Paso historian who lost a friend in the shooting, told Time Magazine.

The sudden reminder of the hate out there towards the Latino community was felt nationwide that day. The violent attack that was planned out revealed the true cost of that hate that has been pushed by some politicians.

“El Paso families have the right to live free from fear, and I will continue to honor the victims and survivors with action,” Rep. Escobar said in her statement. “Fighting to end the gun violence and hate epidemics that plague our nation.”

READ: As El Paso Grieves Their Loss, Here Is Everything We Know About The Victims Of The El Paso Massacre, Which Were Mostly Latino

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Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

Culture

Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

The various lockdown orders across the country are forcing children to stay home during their birthdays. This also means that people aren’t able to come over the celebrate with them. One police officer in New Jersey is making what could be a sad time for the kids a time to remember.

Police officer Luis Vasquez is giving children in Fair Lawn, New Jersey a birthday to remember while in quarantine.

The Fair Lawn Police Department is joining other departments in performing birthday drive-bys. If you have a child ages 10 or younger, celebrating a birthday during this self-quarantine, please reach out to P.O. Luis Vasquez at lvasquez@fairlawnpd.com We will make every effort to set up a social distancing celebratory drive-by with lights and sirens! Hopefully, this will help make your child's day a little brighter like Javen in this video 💙 Happy Birthday Javen 🎈===========#flpd #ourcommunity

Posted by Fair Lawn Police Department on Monday, April 6, 2020

How awesome is that? It is clear that the children are really enjoying the special show of love and celebration for their birthdays. They might not be able to jump in a bouncy castle with their friends but they can still feel special with first responders giving them a special show.

The gesture is warming hearts all over in the comments section.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It truly does look so incredibly special. All of that special attention coming from the heroes children look up to is amazing.

Some people familiar with the police department are sending P.O. Vasquez some special love.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It is very sweet to know that one man in the department is making sure that children have memorable birthdays right now. It is clear that P.O. Vasquez is really looking after his community during some of the craziest times.

People are touched by how generous the police department is with their time in making everyone’s birthday better.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

This is a very generous and kind gesture to give to the community. There is no doubt a lot of people who are scared of everything happening in the world right now and having some special attention on your birthday must feel nice.

Happy birthday to every person spending their special day in quarantine. We love you.

READ: A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

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