Things That Matter

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

The El Paso mass shooting has wrecked the El Paso and Latino-American community at large. It feels impossible to comprehend so much hate for our culture, our people. Yet, in the face of deadly hate, a few people put their lives on the line to protect friends, family, and strangers. Most of these people risked their lives to save others. Many of them sacrificed their lives. All of them are heroes who deserve to be honored in life and in death. Here are some of the biggest heroes from the El Paso shooting that deserve the media attention.

1. Jordan Anchondo gave her life using her body as a shield from her 2-month old baby, Paul. Only the baby survived.

Credit: @KateBieri / Twitter

Jordan and Andre Anchondo had celebrated their one year wedding anniversary three days before they went to Walmart to buy school supplies for their five-year-old daughter. Experts believe that  Jordan used her body as a shield to protect her baby, Paul. Paul was grazed by a bullet but survived. Only his two fingers were broken, likely from the fall of his mother’s body on top of him. Jordan died in the ultimate sacrifice for her child.

2. A witness said they saw Andre Anchondo, RIP, try to grab the gun from the shooter.

Credit: Jordan Jamrowski / Facebook

While his wife was shielding their two-month-old baby, Andre was seen lunging at the shooter in an obvious attempt to stop him. His bravery may have cost him his life, but we’ll never know how many lives were saved by those few moments the shooter was distracted.

3. Jorge Calvillo García died shielding his granddaughter, Emily, from bullets.

Credit: @RobertKFOX14 / Twitter

Jorge’s nephew, Raul Ortega, told KFOX14 that Jorge and Emily were raising funds for a soccer team that Jorge coaches outside of the Walmart. According to Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, Jorge was visiting his son Luis Calvillo (also pictured), who was also shot and injured and is from Torreón, Mexico.

4. Off-duty Army soldier Glendon Oakley saw children running without their parents and grabbed as many kids as he could and ran out of the store.

Credit: @crapitsheckboy / Twitter

Apparently, Oakley was in the Foot Locker next door to Walmart when a kid ran in and told everyone there was a shooter. At first, he didn’t believe him, but after hearing gunshots, he left the safety of the Foot Locker to see how he could help. He saw kids running around without their parents and ran into the Walmart to carry as many kids as he could out to safety.

5. David Johnson, 63, died while shielding his wife and 9-year-old granddaughter inside the Walmart.

Credit: @AC360 / Twitter

His daughter, Krystal Alvord, started a GoFundMe for the funeral costs. She commemorates his heroism in the post saying, “my amazing father pushed my niece and mother out of the way of fire, taking the possible bullets meant for them. He was the best husband, father, grandfather, and friend.”

6. Chris Grant, 50, threw bottles at the gunman to distract him. That’s when the gunman started shooting at him.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Grant told CNN, “I heard gunshots and I knew what it was so I ran towards my mother to try to shield her. I saw him popping people off. To deter him, I just started throwing bottles at him,” he told CNN from his hospital bed. “One went right towards him and that’s when he saw me. I ducked, and he just boop-boop-boop-boop started firing off rounds at me. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this guy is shooting at me.” 

Grant was shot twice near his rib cage, but he says those aren’t the injuries that hurt most. He told CNN the part that hurts most is remembering the gunman slaughtering people as they prayed in Spanish. Grant distracted the gunmen and somehow survived a hail of bullets.

7. Walmart employee Gilbert Serna helped at least 150 people escape through an emergency exit.

Credit: @BuzzfeedNews / Twitter

Serna had been working at the Cielo Vista Walmart for almost 19 years when he heard a panicked voice on his radio say, “Code brown, run quick.” Serna yelled, “Follow me!” and led about 100 customers and employees out a fire exit and had them get into four shipping containers. Instead of getting inside himself, he ran out the side of the building to the parking lot and led the girl’s soccer team that was outside fundraising and another 50 or 60 people into the nearby Sam’s Club.

8. Eleven-year-old, Ruben Martinez, came up with the #ElPasoCHALLENGE, meant to uplift his community.

Credit: @rgandarilla99 / Twitter

It’s no secret. We’re all feeling fear like we’ve never felt before. It’s all too easy to fall into a depression spiral. After the shooting, Ruben went to his room to brainstorm a way to lift up his community. He came up with the #ElPasoChallenge, which challenges every El Pasoan to perform 20 acts of kindness in honor of each of the then-20 victims of terrorism. This is how we don’t let the terrorists win.

READ: Here’s How One 11-Year-Old El Paso Resident Is Trying to Bring Some Positive Light After A Horrible Mass Shooting

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

ANGELA WEISS / Getty

Two years ago in 2018, American activist Emma Gonzales marked the headline of every news organization. As a victim of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida, Gonzalez garnered national attention on February 17, 2018, after giving an 11-minute speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the days, weeks, months, and years since delivering her speech, Gonzalez has made waves with her activism.

Now, the activist who is now in college is the star of a documentary directed by Kim A. Snyder called Us Kids.

Us Kids, which received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this past January is available to be screened on the Alamo Drafthouse virtual screening platform.

Us Kids is available to be screen on Alamo on Demand on October 30.

The film follows the stories of the students behind Never Again MSD. The student-led organization is a group advocating for regulations that work to prevent gun violence and includes Latino activists like Emma González and Samantha Fuentes. Both teens are survivors of the shooting that took place Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florid where 17 students and staff members were killed by a gunman.

In a review about the film, Variety writes that it “primarily celebrates that resilient, focused energy from teenagers who proved perhaps surprisingly articulate as well as passionate in thrusting themselves into a politicized spotlight. It’s more interested in their personalities and personal experiences than in the specific political issues wrestled with. Like ‘Newtown,’ this sometimes results in a repetitious directorial expression of empathy, particularly in the realm of inspirational montages set to pop music. Still, the subjects are duly admirable for their poise and intelligence as Snyder’s camera follows them over 18 months, in which they go from being “normal-ass kids doing normal-ass things” to a high-profile movement’s leading spokespeople.”

The trailer for the documentary was released on Oct. 22 and introduces the survivors of the shooting.

Fuentes, who was an 18-year-old senior at the time of the shooting, speaks about her experience recalling that “I was thinking about how we were going to get out if he was going to come back, was I going to die.”

“As compelling as Hogg and González are (and as touching as their friendship is — they’re each other’s biggest boosters), it might’ve been nice if ‘Us Kids’ had itself strayed farther from the mainstream media narrative in emphasizing less-familiar faces. Considerable screen time is dedicated to Samantha Fuentes, who was hit by bullets but lived while close friend Nick Dworet died next to her,” Variety explains. “She provides a relatable perspective in being occasionally less-than-composed in the public glare (we see her upchuck at the podium a couple times). Still, there are peers frequently glimpsed in the background who never seem to get a word in, while Snyder keeps the established, semi-reluctant ‘stars’ front and center.”

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A 13-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Point-Blank, Unprovoked In His Front Yard; His Family Demands Answers From Police

Things That Matter

A 13-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Point-Blank, Unprovoked In His Front Yard; His Family Demands Answers From Police

Brayan Zavala/Photo: GOFUNDME

A family in Riverdale of Clayton County, Georgia is expressing frustration at the lack of progress the police have made in finding the killer of 13-year-old son Brayan Zavala. “We want justice,” said Brayan’s 16-year-old brother, Jesus. “We want to find whoever killed my brother so he can go to jail and pay for what he did.”

According to the deceased boy’s family, last Thursday, Brayan had been working on the front lawn with his brother and father when a masked gunman approached the property. The gunman didn’t answer when Brayan’s father asked him what he wanted. Instead, unprovoked, the stranger took out his shotgun and shot Brayan at point-blank range in the face. Stunned, the family tried to fight for Brayan’s life as the gunman fled the scene.

“The shooter didn’t even say I want your money, or this is a robbery or I’m assaulting you. He just came, stood there (in) silence and shot my brother.” his 16-year-old brother, Jesus, explained to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We tried to stop all the blood but by the time the police got here, it didn’t seem like he had life or a chance to live.”

The children of Mexican immigrants, the death is especially tragic. “We decided to live here for a better life, turns out it is worse,” Jesus told local news station Fox 5. “This is just like Mexico. They kill because they wanna kill. That is what just happens.”

According to Jesus, Brayan was a A-student on the honor roll, always trying to stay out of trouble. “Me, my brother, my sister, we study and then do our chores, and study. We’re just focused on doing the things, you know, productivity. And going somewhere,” said Jesus told local news station Fox 5.

“He was a cheerful kid. Always smiling, joking. Like I said, always avoiding problems instead of causing problems. I don’t know why this happened to him.”

The senseless killing has shaken the community who don’t understand what would provoke an inexplicable murder of a child. Law enforcement, as well, can’t make sense of it.

“As a Clayton County police officer for over 38 years very little shocks me. But, this brutal, senseless murder has overwhelmed me,” a Clayton County Police officer named Doug Jewett wrote to the AJC. “I send my prayers to the family.”

As of now, the family is trying to pick up the pieces of their life, setting up a GoFundMe page to finance Brayan’s funeral costs. The Clayton County police department has asked anyone with information to call (770) 477-4479. As of now, no suspects have been reported or arrested, and the family is calling for justice.

“It’s been a week now since my brother died and I haven’t heard anything, no answers from police,” Jesus told Atlanta 11 Alive news. “It makes me feel really frustrated that they don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean, they killed my little brother.”

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