Things That Matter

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

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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As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

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As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Cengiz Yar / Getty Images

Cities across the United States are experiencing the worst yet of the Coronavirus pandemic. From California to New York, the country is struggling. However, one area that has emerged as a severe hot spot for the virus is El Paso, Texas.

The city has emerged as one of the nation’s hardest-hit regions. To put it into perspective, El Paso has more active Covid-19 infections than the entire country of Mexico.

In addition to a major spike in cases, the city is also seeing an increase in Covid-19 deaths that is seriously overwhelming healthcare workers, public health officials, and the network of morgues. It’s so bad that the city was using inmates to help transport bodies until the Texas’ governor finally deployed the National Guard to assist.

El Paso is emerging as the face of the second wave in the U.S. and the scenes are terrifying.

The El Paso community is struggling to control it’s severe spike in Covid-19 cases as it becomes a national hot spot for the pandemic. As infection rates rise, El Paso has registered more active Covid-19 cases than the entire country of Mexico.

El Paso (a city of 840,000 people) has 34,487 active cases while Mexico (a nation of 129 million) has 23,284. Although, it’s worth noting that many say Mexico’s actual number could be as many as ten times higher thanks to a severely-limited testing program.

El Paso’s government has attempted to get ahead of the virus and had implemented a wide-ranging stay-at-home order that called for hair salons, gyms and restaurant dine-in services to close. However, a court ruling last week by the 8th Circuit struck down that order, putting thousands of lives at risk.

One nurse went viral after telling her story inside “the pit” where many victims are left to die.

One nurse who worked in an El Paso hospital has gone viral after sharing her harrowing story from inside a Covid-19 hospital. In a nearly hourlong Facebook Live video, Lawanna Rivers, a traveling nurse, said that her time spent at the University Medical Center of El Paso was the worst experience she’s had since the pandemic began.

“Out of all the COVID assignments I’ve been on, this one here has really left me emotionally scarred,” she said. “The facility I’m at has surpassed the one I was at in New York.”

Rivers was most upset about how the sickest patients at the hospital were treated. She said they were all put into an area called a “pit,” where they are essentially left to die.

“My first day at orientation, I was told that whatever patients go into the pit, they only come out in a body bag,” Rivers said.

Rivers said doctors at the hospital would not enter the area, and nurses like herself who were stationed in them were under orders to perform CPR just three times on a patient before letting them die.

Rivers said she learned that doctors wouldn’t enter the pit when she called a physician for help one day with a patient who was bleeding profusely. She said the doctor told her they don’t go into the rooms for the sickest COVID-19 patients, so as to not expose themselves to the disease.

Inmates are joining the frontlines as they help to move the bodies of Covid-19 victims.

Credit: Justin Hammel / Getty Images

As the city struggled to manage the spiraling number of infections and deaths, inmates at the County Detention Facility were called upon to assist the El Paso Medical examiner with the overflow of bodies at the morgue.

Inmates were seen in full PPE gear assisting mobile morgues with the rising body count. A spokesperson for the county did not further detail exactly what the inmates were being asked to do but that they were being paid $2 per hour and were serving time for low-level sentences. The county also defended the decision to use inmate labor, saying it was either that or force families to wait even longer to start funeral arrangements.

The National Guard has been called upon to help work in mortuaries.

Credit: Ivan Aguirre / Getty Images

After El Paso resorted to using county jail inmates to move bodies for nearly two weeks, the Texas Army National Guard is sending a 36-person team to assist with mortuary services.

“This is very much needed in our community, and we’re really thankful for [the Texas Division of Emergency Management] and the governor’s action on this,” Democratic state Rep. and Sen.-elect César Blanco said Friday.

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Both Parents Of 4-Year-Old Texas Boy Die Within Months Of Each Other From Covid

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Both Parents Of 4-Year-Old Texas Boy Die Within Months Of Each Other From Covid

GoFundMe

There has been positive news about vaccines for Covid-19. However, the virus is still raging in the U.S. and causing avoidable deaths. A story out of Texas is highlighting the threat of Covid still today after a mother and father dies leaving behind a soon-to-be 5-year-old.

The parents of a 4-year-old boy in San Antonio died from Covid months apart.

Adan and Mariah Gonzalez are two of the more than 240,000 Americans who have died of Covid. The tragic deaths of Adan and Mariah, months apart, left 4-year-old Raiden Gonzalez alone as his birthday and holiday season near.

“Sweet Mariah Gonzalez left the world this morning unexpectedly due to COVID 19  She joins her husband and best friend, Adan Gonzalez who recently passed due to COVID-19,” reads a GoFundMe set up to help Raiden. “They leave behind their beautiful 4-year-old son Raiden who loves his parents more than anything. Mariah’s bubbly personality, amazing teaching and makeup skills, her joy of motherhood, and beautiful smile will be so beyond missed.”

Raiden’s story is highlighting the growing toll of the worsening health crisis.

The U.S. has recorded more than 100,000 cases every day for the past 12 days. These numbers are breaking records for most infections in one day. Texas has seen a recent spike in Covid cases, along with all U.S. states but Texas was the first state to cross the grave milestone of 1 million cases. Despite the increase, Texas officials have not moved to reinstate restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.

“Seeing the good data [in late summer] seemed to send a signal that we were in the right direction and we were in the clear,” Angela Clendenin, an epidemiologist at Texas A&M University told WFAA. “And I think people lost their vigilance.”

This virus is still running rampant in the U.S. and cases are spiking, as predicted.

Experts are urging Americans to be safe and smart this holiday season. The holidays are posing a very real risk of an explosion in new cases if people don’t adhere to guidelines. Health experts have come out strongly against indoor, in-person gatherings for the holidays to get control of the virus.

“My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country and in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane and travel with public transportation.”

Raiden’s birthday is Nov. 28 and his family wants to give him the best one possible.

The GoFundMe page includes the information for anyone wanting to attend the “Roar and Wave” birthday party. There is also an address included for anyone who wants to help Raiden celebrate with gifts and cards.

“He likes dinosaurs, he likes monster trucks, he likes Hot Wheels,” his grandmother and caretaker Rozie Salinas told NBC News. “But being that he picked the dinosaur theme for his birthday, he really liked it.”

READ: New Covid-19 Lockdowns Are Coming To Parts Of The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

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