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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Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Things That Matter

Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Photo via Getty Images

The GOP’S voter-suppression tactics in Georgia have been gripping the nation. But now, the media is also turning its attention to other voter-suppression tactics in the rest of the country. Now, Texas Republicans are taking the heat.

According to Common Cause Texas, Texas Republicans are planning on recruiting thousands of volunteers create an “election integrity brigade”. They want the “brigade” to go into Black and brown neighborhoods in Houston and “fight voter fraud”.

A Texas GOP presentation was leaked that outlined plans to send an “army” of poll-watchers to Black and brown precincts.

“I’m trying to encourage and recruit, as a precinct chair, about 30 people in my precinct who will have the confidence and courage to come down in here…,” said an unnamed GOP official, pointing to majority non-white urban areas, “…in these areas where we really need poll-workers. Because this is where the problem is occuring.”

“So me finding poll-watchers out here, it helps, but it’s a pretty safe precinct”. He said this while pointing to majority-white Houston neighborhoods.

The video inspired outrage among people who saw these tactics as blatant attempts to suppress the voting rights of POC.

“The impetus for releasing [the video] right now is there are some bills in the legislature that seek to empower poll watchers in some really scary ways,” said executive director of Common Cause Texas, Anthony Gutierrez, to NBC News. “And also at the same time, take away the power of the presiding judge at the poll site from being able to remove a disruptive poll watcher.”

“It’s very clear that we’re talking about recruiting people from the predominantly Anglo parts of town to go to Black and Brown neighborhoods,” said Gutierrez to The Washington Post.

“This is a role that’s supposed to do nothing but stand at a poll site and observe,” he added. Why is he suggesting someone needs to be ‘courageous’?”

This “election integrity brigade” comes on the heels of a problematic election bill the Texas Senate just passed.

According to NBC News, the bill “bans overnight early voting and drive-thru early voting” and also “empowers partisan poll watchers.”

“It’s part of the intimidation, the confusion, the antics that (the Republican Party) has engaged in for so many generations that culminated in President Trump asking people to overturn the election,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to CNN.

“What they’re doing is filing bills that are essentially a poll tax that weaponize the election system against our own voters,” she continued. “And what they’re proposing is absolutely tragic and reminiscent of the worst of what we’ve seen in Texas and across the South since Reconstruction.”

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Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

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Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

Several states across the country (mostly governed by Republican leaders) have decided to repeal their mask mandates despite their own health officials urging against such moves.

Yes, the vaccine roll out has improved under the Biden administration – with nearly 2 million people getting vaccinated each day – but that is still not enough for the United States to reach herd immunity over night.

Now, thanks to these irresponsible moves by Republican governors, Americans are left to fend for themselves against anti-makers. In fact, a Mexican restaurant in Texas that decided to keep its mask mandate for diners is now facing racist attacks with people threatening to call ICE on its workers.

Texas Mexican restaurant is facing a backlash for sticking to its mask rules.

Houston’s Picos Restaurant, a small family-owned Mexican restaurant, is facing racist threatening comments after deciding to prioritize public health amid an ongoing pandemic. Several people sent hateful messages through social media and called the restaurant, threatening to report staffers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“It was just horrific,” co-owner Monica Richards told the Washington Post. “People don’t understand unless you’re in our business what it felt like, how hard it was to go through everything we went through during covid. For people to be negative toward us for trying to remain safe, so that this doesn’t continue to happen, just makes zero sense to us.”

Picos decided to maintain their mask mandate as the governor lifted the state-wide one.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) rescind the statewide mask mandate despite the fact that a vast majority of his state’s residents remain vulnerable to COVID-19. The governor has ignored the advice of his own public health officials who say the state should wait on lifting these mandates until their is a greater incidence of vaccination in communities.

With Abbotts order, Texas will become the largest state in the nation to no longer require masks, which has not come easily for many businesses that are navigating enforcement mask rules to protect employees and customers while facing backlash.

Experts agree that masks are among the most effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19, but they’ve also become a partisan symbol. Masks have become so symbolic that one conservative group is set to hold a mask burning party the day the order is lifted, according to the Washington Post.

Picos hasn’t been the only restaurant facing such a backlash.

In fact, another Mexican restaurant in Houston, Cantina Bar, has been the victim of similar threatening messages, while several staff have been intimidated by screaming customers who refuse to wear masks even while it was required by a state order. Another Houston Mexican restaurant, Cantina Barba, received similar intimidating messages, and staff have been bullied by some screaming customers who refused to wear masks while it was required statewide, co-owner Steven O’Sullivan said.

“This has been ongoing through covid,” co-owner Steven O’Sullivan told the Post. “We’ve had threats of calling ICE. I had one guy just stand there and berate one of my bartenders and tell her ‘you’re an absolute idiot, you don’t know what you’re doing. If you think these masks are going to save your life, you’re stupid’ blah, blah, blah. Nobody wants to deal with that stuff.”

Another employee at a separate restaurant had to get stitches after he was hit in the head with a glass by a maskless customer he approached, Houston Police said. Hopefully, the governor will still encourage his constituents to do what’s right and continue to wear masks when asked to do.

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