Things That Matter

Here’s The Story Of Anthony C. Acevedo, The First Mexican-American Recognized As A Holocaust Survivor

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When people think of those that survived or died in the Holocaust, Mexican-Americans are not the first that come to mind. In fact, they might not come to mind at all. However, there’s are millions of non-Jewish people that were victims of Hitler’s regime. There are 11 million people, including gay people, priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters, whodied in World War II. Like Jewish people, the non-Jewish community were seen as “undesirables.” One of those undesirables was Anthony C. Acevedo, a military medic for the United States. He documented life and death at a Nazi concentration camp.

Anthony C. Acevedo, a World War II veteran and survivor of a Nazi camp, died at the age of 93.

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While Acevedo died on Feb. 11,  his family buried him on March 8 in Riverside, California.

“If I can describe my father with one word, it would be heart,” Acevedo’s daughter, Rebeca Acevedo-Carlin, said at an earlier memorial service, according to CNN.

What an incredible, genuine man he was,” Fernando Acevedo, his son, said according to CNN. “He would always say have faith, care for others and, more importantly, love one another. I saw my father act with love toward everyone.”

Acevedo joined the U.S. Army as a medic in 1944.

CREDIT: U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project. The University of Austin Texas.

Acevedo’s father was an engineer who worked for the U.S. government despite not having proper documentation. Acevedo’s mother died while he was a baby. In 1937, during the Great Depression, Acevedo’s father — like many Mexicans during that time — was deported to Mexico.

While Acevedo was born in San Bernardino, California, he went to Mexico to be with his dad.

In 2009, Acevedo said in an interview with The Press Enterprise that when he was interrogated by a German officer in 1945, the man knew all the details about his life.

“He pointed at me with his baton,” Acevedo said in 2009. “He knew everything about me. He knew about my family. He talked to me in Spanish and English. He said, ‘You were born in San Bernardino and raised in Pasadena. Your parents were kicked out of the United States. That’s what the Americans do.'”

On Jan. 6, 1945, Acevedo and 350 U.S. soldiers were captured during the Battle of the Bulge and sent to a Nazi prison and labor camp.

CREDIT: YouTube

“The Germans were getting closer and closer,” Acevedo said, according to U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project. “We ran out of ammunition until, finally, we were caught.”

For the next several months, Acevedo had to help his fellow soldiers since he was a medic, but he was also trying to survive. They all faced torture and illness from brutal beatings and barely any food, the Washington Post reports.

“At the time, you would eat anything to try and survive,” Acevedo said, according to U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project.

When he arrived at the camp, Acevedo weighed 149 pounds, and after he was released he weighed only 87 pounds.

While at the prison camp, Acevedo risked his own life by keeping a journal and documenting every death he witnessed.

CREDIT: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Anthony Acevedo

Here’s an example of one entry that the Washington Post reprinted.

April 2, 1945

Two more of our men died today + one last night makes 3 + 16 — makes 19; living in unsanitary conditions; water must be boiled before it is drinkened. No latrines. Deaths are increasing in great number.

When asked by the Holocaust Memorial Museum why he kept a journal and risked his life by doing so, he said: “It was my moral obligation to do so.”

“Prisoners were being murdered and tortured by the Nazis,” Acevedo told CNN in 2008. “Many of our men died, and I tried keeping track of who they were and how they died. I’m glad I did it.”

On April 23, 1945 the war ended and out of the 350 soldiers captured only 120 survived including Acevedo.

Acevedo spent the last two decades of his life volunteering at the veterans hospital where he passed away.

“They saluted my dad all the way up and down the hallway as we were walking. Four floors like that,” his son Fernando told CNN. “Nurses, doctors, patients who were able to stand — everyone was standing at attention saluting my dad. I tell you, that was really heavy.”

In 2010, Acevedo was the first Mexican-American to register as a Holocaust survivor at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum .

CREDIT: Facebook/Travis Cole

Kyra Schuster, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum curator told CNN: “He was this man who, despite the odds against him, despite what he was going through and experiencing, it was still important for him to take care of others, to document what was happening, to make sure the world knew what had happened to them. That’s why he spoke out later in life. He was always putting other people ahead of himself. That’s how I see him, and that is so admirable.”


READ: A New Exhibition Tells The Stories Of Mexicans And Mexican-Americans Who Were Illegally Deported In The ’20s And ’30s

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Lost KKK Tapes Have Been Uncovered By A Journalist And They Are As Bad As You Might Imagine

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Lost KKK Tapes Have Been Uncovered By A Journalist And They Are As Bad As You Might Imagine

Invaluable Auction / Thad Zajdowicz / Flickr

Back in 2012, the daughters of Eugene B. Sloane, a photographer and journalist, came across a piece of uncovered Martin Luther King Jr. history, a never-heard-before recording. After their father’s passing, the women had begun to sort through his belongings, and they’re tucked away in a box sat his original Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder and two reel-to-reel audio tapes. The two tapes, although recorded in 1967, have content that is still relevant today. 

Eugene B. Sloane was a respected reporter for the South Carolina newspaper, The State, who was most well-known for his coverage during the civil rights era.

One of the tapes found is a rare recording of a Klan meeting, that took place the night before a Dr.  Martin Luther King event. 

Credit: Invaluable Auction

That evening, in the summer of 1967, there was a public announcement that a Klan meeting would be taking place; Sloane then taped the recorder to his waist and hid it under a Klan robe, then placed a hood over his head and began to tape the entire meeting. In the recording you can hear the Klan leader, spewing false rumors and hate, making wild accusations that black men are coming to their city to rape white women, this is eerily similar to Donald Trump’s presidential announcement when he stated all Mexicans rapist and criminals. The man on the tape goes on to inflate the crowd sizes saying there will thousands coming the following day, which is exactly the same type of mob mentality that Trump creates when he spreads the same hate-filled lies about “invasions” happening on the “southern border.”

Sadly, the most parallel wording in the recording is when the Klan leader calls for King’s death, “for God help that —- He ought to be shot.” His call to action is then followed by audience applause and honking in solidarity. 

Eight months later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would end up being assassinated by a white supremacist, with a rifle. 

Credit: Courtesy of Yolitzma Aguirre

On August 3, 2019, fifty-one years after white supremacy took the life of Dr. King Jr., in a mirrored action, the largest massacre of Latinos (in modern history) took place in El Paso, TX, when a supremacist drove 8 hours from Plano, TX – with a rifle – and murdered twenty-two innocent people. In the shooter’s own words, his objective was to “kill as many Mexicans as possible.”

During the most recent Democratic debate, the candidates were asked their thoughts on Trump’s responsibility in the El Paso massacre. Senator Kamala Harris’ response spoke volumes of truth. 

In both assassination of MLK and the massacre in El Paso, white men pulled the trigger and white supremacy was the ammunition.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

In 1967 (much like today) racial tensions were at an all-time high. The Detroit riots had taken place a week before King’s Charleston visit. Yet despite all the racist hate hurled his way, Dr. King continued with the Poor People’s Campaign, he believed in the greater good and the work that must be done in order to truly attain equality. 

The second recording in Sloane’s belongings spoke exactly to that purpose. In this newly discovered recording, King discusses the very same issues that we are still battling today. On the topic of racism, he states, “…wherever we live in America, you have to face the fact honestly that racial discrimination is present. So don’t get complacent; certainly, we’ve made some strides, we’ve made some progress here and there but it hasn’t been enough; it hasn’t been fast enough; and although we’ve come a long long way, we still have a long, long way to go.

The 45-minute speech had profound key points on a range of issues, including the fundamental racism in this country, that must be changed, otherwise, freedom is not “free” for us all. He explains the pitfalls in the system, how America likes to say everyone is equal yet not everyone was allowed equal opportunity to attend school, therefore not everyone has equal opportunity to equal jobs, which means not everyone has equal opportunity to earn income, and not everyone has equal opportunity to afford food or a home…and the cycle continues.

If you look at the United States today, it is sad to say, not much has changed since King gave this Charleston speech.

Credit: @Nikki_Lew / Twitter

What the recording leaves us with, is the very essence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, that in the end, love beat out hate and fuel our movement. “so I’m not gonna give you a motto or preach a philosophy burn, baby burn. I’m gonna say build, baby build organize, baby, organize. I’ve decided to stick with love…Somebody’s gotta have some sense in this world. And a lot of white folks have demonstrated eloquently that they don’t have no sense and why should we be that way? The reason I’m not gonna preach a doctrine of black supremacy is because I’m sick and tired of white supremacy.

These two tapes that have now surfaced, have been cared for by Sloane’s daughters and will now be released to the public at auction. The sisters reached out to Guernsey auction house – who has handled many civil rights memorabilia, including Rosa Parks’ archives – and made the arrangements to personally hand deliver the tapes themselves, in order to assure the tapes arrived undamaged. 

The tapes, photos, and other items will be placed for auction on September 19th, 2019. 

Over fifty years after his death, Dr. King Jr. continues to be a beacon of hope, a light shining in the darkest hours. 

It has been a little over a month since the massacre took place in El Paso, TX, and in the month, we have seen different communities come together, to support each other in this dark hour, and as the next presidential election approaches we can listen to Dr. King’s words from that 1967 in recording, “build, baby build, organize, baby organize.” 

Already we have seen many groups begin to roll out their 2020 plans for engagement and voter registration. Democratic leaders like, Stacey Abrams – whose midterm race for governor of Georgia became national attention due to voter discrimination – has launched Fair Fight 2020, a voter protection program which will run across 20 states.

READ: These Surprising Facts Will Explain Why Latinos Ought To Celebrate Juneteenth

VIDEO: ICE Just Shot An Undocumented Mexican Outside Tennessee Grocery Store

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VIDEO: ICE Just Shot An Undocumented Mexican Outside Tennessee Grocery Store

Since Trump’s rise to power, the undocumented community living and working in the United States has become progressively more psychologically oppressed. Studies show that undocumented immigrants are so afraid to leave their homes for fear of ICE, they’re now avoiding routine errands like grocery shopping. The Right claims that this insidious culture of fear is simply the consequence of breaking the law. Deportation is a serious, family-altering life event that is right to be feared. Even worse is the fear of violence from ICE officers. The undocumented community is reeling after seeing those fears play out for one migrant who was shot by ICE outside a Tennessee grocery store.

On Thursday, a 39-year-old Mexican national was stopped at a traffic light. ICE agents shot two bullets at the man while he was driving his truck, claiming that act was tantamount to assault on the agents. The FBI have been called to investigate the legitimacy of the assault claim, and still don’t have adequate evident to charge the man with a crime.

It all started outside a grocery store.

@NC5_MTorres / Twitter

Local media outlets obtained footage of the incident, which occurred in Antioch, Tennessee on Thursday morning. The video depicts a seemingly normal traffic stop. The migrant was driving a white box truck, circled in red. Beside the truck is an undercover black sedan with blinking police lights.

Federal officials are describing the moment the migrant drove off as “assault” on the agents.

Bryan Cox, a spokesperson for ICE, told Buzzfeed News that the migrant was pulled over for “immigration law violations.” Cox claims that the man tried to “flee the scene” and “drove toward an agent who then fired two bullets at him.” Now that the video footage is out, concerned citizens are arriving at their own conclusions. “He drove off and not at police. No agent should fire his service arm unless his life is in danger,” tweeted @SheldonAYS.

Another Tennessee resident commented, “Not much assault here, except by the guy with the gun. We really need a president who doesn’t want to turn the U.S.A. into a police state.” Meanwhile, the other side is tweeting, “I am glad the agent is safe. I hope they find this criminal soon and throw him over the wall.”

Footage shows the ICE agents pointing their guns as the man drives off.

@NC5_MTorres / Twitter

The man was hospitalized and treated for two bullet wounds, and left a Nashville hospital the following morning. At the hospital, FBI arrived on the scene to determine whether the man assaulted the ICE agents, which might warrant the use of excessive force by ICE. The undocumented immigrant then surrendered himself to the FBI, now a victim of America’s famed police brutality. His lawyer, Andrew Free, told Buzzfeed News, “The FBI informed me that if there had been sufficient evidence to charge him when he surrendered he would’ve been arrested.”

ICE said that no matter if its agents are prosecuted, the man will still be deported on any given day.

According to Cox, the Mexican national has been deported four times and has a criminal record which includes a conviction of domestic assault. Meanwhile, the FBI is holding the man’s blood-splattered truck in custody until the investigation is over.

In response, the immigrant community is putting on “Know Your Rights” workshops for Nashville residents.

“If we educate our community and we educate the agents on how to approach this situation, instances like today will not be happening; we can avoid bad news with both agents and our community; and right now, our community is living in fear,” immigrant rights activist American Leon told News Channel 5 Nashville. His goal is to ensure that all immigrant families have an emergency plan in place if they get arrested by ICE. That plan must include arrangements for their children in the event they can never return home.

Nashville’s Mayor has all but named Trump to blame for the incident.

@DigitalProdJoey / Twitter

“The federal government’s inability to arrive at comprehensive immigration reform results in situations like what happened in Antioch this morning,” Democratic Nashville Mayor David Briley said in a statement. “This is exactly what we don’t want happening in our city.”

Just two days prior, Mayor Briley signed an executive order calling on Tennessee’s General Assembly to repeal a state house bill that bans state and local lawmakers from passing sanctuary city policies. If the bill is repealed, we can expect mayors around Tennessee to declare their cities as “sanctuaries” from ICE.