Things That Matter

Here’s The Latest On Hurricane Harvey And How Texas Are Dealing With The Damage

Twitter/@houstonpolice @YonksHTX

As flooding continues in Southeast Texas, four days since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, we are now seeing the devastation that it has left in its path. And the rain is supposed to continue until tomorrow. The Weather Channel reports that Harvey’s center is currently in the Gulf of Mexico, which means the hurricane is expected to hit the Louisiana coast tomorrow.

Initial reports of fatalities are currently at 14, including a family of six that died while trying to evacuate. The New York Daily News reports that Manuel Saldivar, 84, his wife Belia, 81; Daisy Saldivar, 6; Xavier Saldivar, 8; Dominic Saldivar, 14; Devy Saldivar, 16, were in a van attempting to leave Houston. The van was overcome with flood waters as it tried to cross the bridge

As rising waters continue to overtake various parts of Houston, officials in Brazoria County tweeted that residents had to leave the area quickly because the levee had been breached. NBC also reports that two Houston reservoirs have overflowed.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Houston and are surveying the damage. But the First Lady is getting clowned for wearing heels and a “FLOTUS” hat on her trip.

The Mexican government has attempted to offer aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey, but Trump has yet to approve any of it.

The hashtag #HoustonStrong is showing us some truly emotional photos of people helping others in need, and is also capturing what exactly is happening in Texas.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also confirmed the death of 60-year-old police officer Steve Perez, who was trying to get to work and help. Police chief Art Acevedo was clearly shaken during a press conference:

This is just one visual of how much waters have risen in Houston.

Yesterday, the Mayor tweeted that undocumented people should not fear seeking help.

“If you are in a stressful situation, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what your religion is, I don’t care what your language is, you come and take advantage of every service that we have,” Turner said, according to The Hill. “If you’re in a stressful situation and you need help, you call us for help. We want you to call. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should not call okay?”

While a lot of the news has been dire, there have been some incredible people that have done whatever they can in order to help. The Houston Police gave a shout out to Taqueria Del Sol, which served food to patrol officers.

In other parts of Houston, the Gonzales family used their boat to help several people evacuate.

These panaderos were holed up in a bakery, so they made bread and gave it to those in need.

Gloria Maria Quintanilla didn’t let flooding stop her from getting to her job.

I worked at the hotel up there,” she said to a New York Times reporter, adding that she only makes $10 an hour. “It was my day to work, and I’m a very responsible person,” Quintanilla said, speaking in Spanish. “I had no idea it was going to be like this.”

READ: After Criticism, Border Patrol Announces It Will Close Immigration Checkpoints In Path Of Hurricane Harvey

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A Tragic Accident Left Two Teenage Daughters Without Parents While Vacationing In Turks And Caicos

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A Tragic Accident Left Two Teenage Daughters Without Parents While Vacationing In Turks And Caicos

Irma Isabel Barrera / Facebook

There is terrible news out of the Turks and Caicos Islands where authorities say three Texas tourists, including a married couple, drowned during a recent vacation. According to People Magazine, the couple, Irma Barrera, 33, and her husband, Roy Perez, 38, were vacationing with their 15-year-old daughter and the third victim and his daughter when they drowned after getting caught in a quick-moving tide this past Monday. 

The group was reportedly exploring Bambarra Beach, a popular and scenic tourist area when the group of five got caught in a tidal wave that fueled by strong winds. The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said the incident happened around 1 p.m. near the beach which is located on the sparsely populated island of Middle Caicos.

Barrera’s body would be found washed ashore shortly after the incident and after searchers scoured the beaches, they recovered Perez’s a few hours later. The third body, identified as Dr. Richard Okoloise, was discovered early on Tuesday morning with assistance from the US Coast Guard.

The terrible incident has now left two families torn apart and two children devastated by the loss of a parent.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

The victims belonged to two families who hailed from Texas. Their families say the group was vacationing together along with their two girls. Residents in the area say that the families may have been attempting to swim a short distance through the shallow waters from Bambarra Beach to Pelican Cay, which is nearby to the beach when they were swept away in the fast-moving tide.

Rescuers were able to rescue both of the young girls from the water and save them from drowning. Both were being cared for shortly after by local social welfare services. Family members back home are working to get the children back to the home to the United States. According to KTRK-TV, family members of Barrera’s and Perez’s were traveling to the Caribbean archipelago on Wednesday to bring the couple’s daughter home and seek more answers on how this incident could have ever happened. 

“This was a tragic loss of life and obviously all of us are asking every question we can about what went wrong,” Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting said in a public statement. “Our thoughts and our prayers go out to everyone, most especially the children involved.

“We live in a world filled with many bad things, but we still have good Samaritans,” Botting added. “I would like to thank those who came to the aide of the children and everyone who were a part of the search and rescue, this includes volunteers, our Emergency Response Teams and the U.S. Coastguard Helicopter crew.”

We are now learning more about the couple and father who tragically drowned. 

Credit: @abcnews / Twitter

Families and friends are now mourning the horrible incident and remembering those who have been lost. According to her Facebook profile, Barrera worked as a nurse at Angleton Emergency Room while her husband is being called a “family man” by various friends on Facebook. 

“My classmate, friend, brother this is how I’ll remember you. Every picture with your family always brought a smile. A class clown to say the least! I remember about a year ago you messaged me saying that you were proud of me. Yet today I want to say how proud I am of you. Your daughters adore you man! Your daughters will forever be in my prayers. May You & your Wife Rest In Peace.” a friend wrote on his Facebook profile.

Okoloise, an emergency medicine physician in Angleton, Texas, is being also hailed a great person who had an undeniable love for his young daughter. He was said to have always wanted to travel to Turks and Caicos if he ever got rich. 

“He loved medicine, traveling, and his family,” Annamarie Kilgore, a friend and colleague of Okoloise wrote on Facebook. “I will miss his ridiculous talks. However, I’m thankful he was called while being in his favorite place in the world. He always told me ‘if I ever disappear after a lottery win, I’ll be hiding in Turks and Caicos.'”

The deadly incident has prompted calls from local residents for authorities to put up warning signs on the islands which are often-deserted beaches. It’s yet to be determined if any action will be taken to further stop any future incident similar to this. 

Family friends have set up a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral arrangements.

READ: Central Americans Flee Their Countries Because Of Violence But Also Because They Have No Water

This Corrido About The Shooting In El Paso, Texas, Will Break Your Heart And Make You Proud To Be Mexican

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This Corrido About The Shooting In El Paso, Texas, Will Break Your Heart And Make You Proud To Be Mexican

Mundo México / YouTube

In Mexican culture, storytelling is everything. Our stories are rarely written down on a page, let alone documented by government officials, which means it is up to us to tell the stories, so they are never forgotten. It’s a practice as old as time. Aside from oral histories that are told within families and communities, Mexicans also write corridos — Spanish ballads — that tell a story about a particular moment or situation. They all contain the same musical melody, which makes them so recognizable. Oxford bibliographies note that corridos are “typically performed a cappella or accompanied by stringed instruments, most commonly guitars,” and it is “performed in regular dance meters, they are commonly set to waltz or polka rhythms.” So, while the melody may be familiar, it is the words to each corrido that makes the song distinctive. It’s our musical tradition that dates back to the Mexican Revolutions of the 20th century, and they remain very much alive today. 

On Tuesday, two Latinos performed a corrido titled “El Llanto de El Paso Texas” during a vigil in El Paso, Texas. 

Here’s the English translation of the Spanish song:  

“I’m going to sing a corrido/ Listen closely/ In the United States/ City of El Paso Texas/ Many people are crying/ Because of what happened here/ On the 3rd of August/ One Saturday morning/ At Walmart by Cielo Vista/ People walked peacefully/ But they never imagined/ Their lives would be changed/ You could hear several gunshots/ A gun went off/ The massacre began/ And my people got scared/ They didn’t know where to run/ But everyone helped each other/ These things that I tell you/ The news reported about it/ 22 dead and 26 injured/ El Chuco is now sad/ Many families are mourning/ It was an act of terrorism/ That this monster caused/ He tried to break my people/ Be he didn’t achieve that/ Now we are more united/ Thanks be to god.”

This powerful Spanish ballad was recorded and tweeted by photojournalist J. Omar Ornelas.

Credit: @fotornelas / Twitter

The vigil, which fell on the eve before President Donald Trump’s visit to El Paso included several moments of prayer by the hundreds in attendance. Ornelas tweeted, “In death nobody kills us, we only know how to be reborn with our culture,” and added, “the power of prayer was visible.” 

People loved the song’s poignant message that both informed about what happened, and spoke of strength and unity.

Credit: @itsjveliz / Twitter

@amiradelagarza tweeted, “A corrido about the Cielo Vista massacre in El Paso — because the Mexican response to suffering and death is not to turn away from it. 

Another said, “Already there’s a powerful corrido about the El Paso shootings. Best line: ‘…quiso romper a mi gente, pero esto no lo logro…’ (‘…he tried to break my people, but this couldn’t do…’) #ElPasoStrong.”

This corridor is just the latest tune to go viral in the wake of the El Paso shooting.

Credit: @AngelicaMCasas / Twitter

Earlier this week, a local mariachi shared their rendition of the classic song of loss by Juan Gabriel,  “Amor Eterno.” The song which is typically played during funerals or at somber moments showed the resilience of the Latino community as well as pride for the Mexican culture. 

Nancy Hernandez tweeted, “Not only Mexicans, most Latinos use this song. Breaks my heart every time I hear it! But what do hateful racists know about our great heritage/spirituality/love of God. #BanTrumpFromElPaso #RespectTheDead I would roll over in my grave! #TrumpIsARacist 7 were Mexicans!” Michael Esposito said, “Amor Eterno is one of the most heart-rending songs ever written, and masterfully clothes the profound sadness of losing a loved one with high artistry. I get goosebumps listening to it, whether it’s the composer Juan Gabriel’s version or Rocío Dúrcal’s version.”

Corridos are also infamously known to tell the stories about the drug cartel. While it may have a violent connect, corridos mostly speak of heartbreak. 

Like folk songs of the ’60s, corridos are extremely crucial to the understanding of a particular culture. Corridos are relevant and studied. Several books have been written about the topic including, Gurza, Agustín “A Century of Corridos: The Musical History of Mexico and Its People,” Hernández, Guillermo E, “What Is a Corrido? Thematic Representation and Narrative Discourse.” 

Now, “El Llanto de El Paso Texas” will be forever remembered as the corrido that was about a tragic day in El Paso, Texas. 

READ: While El Paso Was A Devastating Moment In U.S. History, These People Stood Up To Save Anyone They Could

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