Things That Matter

This Heartbreaking Interview With An 11-Year-Old Girl Sees Her Pleading For Her Parents To Not Be Deported

On Wednesday, not even a week after the mass shootings that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, communities of color continued to suffer at the hands of the Trump administration. In what is being called the largest workplace raid in at least a decade, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested nearly 700 undocumented workers from different processing plants in Morton, Mississippi. 

Since the raids happened early in the day, many children were left behind to fend for themselves, without parents to pick them up from school or feed them. 

Scenes of the children’s devastating reactions quickly made rounds on social media. Many of them pleading to ICE officials to let their parents go back home with them. 

After the El Paso shooting in Texas, many survivors and witnesses, some of which were children, we also left wondering if they’d ever see their parents again or if they’d be next in losing their lives at the hands of a gunman. One 5-year-old even asked her grandparents, “is he going to come and shoot me?” With each passing day, children in the U.S. continue to undergo traumas that they shouldn’t be exposed to. 

Now, with ICE officials conducting more raids and ripping parents away from their children, we continue to see the dangerous and violent ways in which the Trump administration shows it doesn’t care at all for communities of color and let alone, the children. 

In a Facebook video recorded outside a plant in Morton, Mississippi, an 11-year-old girl can be heard sobbing and begging an officer for a chance to see her mother. “If I could just see my mother please,” the young girl says.

According to the Associated Press, most of the workers that were detained were also Latinx. These raids marked another blow to the Latinx community who continues to mourn over the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. But reports state that the raid had been planned for months, “long before a Texas man killed 22 people and injured 24 in El Paso, TX, his white supremacist manifesto promoting concerns of a ‘Hispanic invasion’ of the country.” 

Nevertheless, the raid on Wednesday left many children vulnerable and devastated. According to Mississippi news station WJTV, authorities said children affected by the raid would be placed with another family member, and they were also working with school officials to ensure the children would be cared for. But despite these reports, a journalist for WJTV said that many children who were left behind had nowhere to go. 

Another video of 11-year-old Magdalena also made rounds on social media where she’s seen being interviewed by journalists in tears, pleading for the return of her father.

“Let my parent be free, with everybody else… don’t leave the [children],” she says sobbing. “My dad didn’t do nothing. He’s not a criminal.” 

According to a Twitter video by WJTV’s Alex Love, children can be seen in distress waiting outside what seems to be a school waiting for more information on their parents. “Children of those arrested are left alone in the streets crying for help,” Love writes in his tweet. “Strangers and neighbors are taking them to a local gym to be put up for the night.” Many other community members also volunteered to feed the children by donating food and drinks for dinner. 

As more and more heartbreaking images and videos of children crying after they had been separated from their presents, many thought it wasn’t “ethical” or “right” to share the images and videos showcasing their pain. 

“I don’t think it’s ethical to take and post pictures of distraught children who have found out their parents have been kidnapped by ICE,” said one Twitter user Yasmin Yonis.  

It sparked conversation and some were in her mentions agreeing with her sentiment while other disagreed and thought it was necessary for people to circulate these images in order to evoke empathy.

 One Twitter user mentioned the “desensitization” of the nation and added that it’s a “scary thought that images of distraught toddlers can’t evoke empathy. Just my cents.” A scary thought that seems to be the reality. 

One Twitter user said they thought it was unethical to “obscure the suffering of children or anyone no matter the situation.” 

But at this point what is unclear about what’s happening? The public has seen migrant deaths in photos circulated through social media, we’ve seen parents in detention facilities, and now we’re seeing the trauma form in real-time with these videos of children crying, begging for their parents. 

We’ve gotten to a point where sharing these images of children heartbroken and devastated because their parents have been arrested by ICE is no longer necessary to evoke empathy. 

As immigration journalist, Tina Vasquez wrote for Playboy, “If white Americans need to see dead brown bodies to make sense of their own borders, then journalism will supply their demand. Under the Trump administration, there seems to be no end to America’s capacity to consume migrants’ suffering. After years of inaction and turning the other cheek, America wants to see it all. But then what?” 

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

Things That Matter

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

Mario Tama / Getty Images

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

He Spent Nine Months Fighting For His Life Since The El Paso Shooting But Unfortunately He Became The 23rd Victim Of The Massacre

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He Spent Nine Months Fighting For His Life Since The El Paso Shooting But Unfortunately He Became The 23rd Victim Of The Massacre

Facebook / Garcia Family

It’s been nine months since the El Paso Massacre – on August 3, 2019 – in which now 23 people lost their lives. Amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, El Paso and its Latino community struggle to rebuild their faith and their hope.

In the wake of the attack, much of the nation was grief-stricken as El Paso’s large Latino community came under attack by an alleged white nationalist. Now, the community is once again mourning the loss of one of their own as the massacre claims another victim – nine months later.

A victim of the attack died in the hospital nearly nine months after the massacre.

In a statement, Del Sol Medical Center’s CEO said, “After a nearly nine-month fight, our hearts are heavy as we report Guillermo ‘Memo’ Garcia, our last remaining patient being treated from the El Paso shooting, has passed away.”

“His courage, his strength and his story have touched many lives, including those of our caregivers, who tirelessly fought with him and for him every step of the way,” the statement continued. “We are grieving with his family and with our community.”

His wife Jessica, who was also shot, said in a statement to KDBC-TV, “Last night at 11:22 we lost a warrior, but gained an angel. He fought long and hard, with the help of all his troops he won many battles but lost the war.”

“We would like to ask the community to continue to lift Memo in prayer and allow us to grief this tremendous loss, we are asking for privacy during this time,” Garcia said.

Memo and his wife Jessica had been in the Walmart parking lot fundraising for their daughter’s football team.

Credit: @CAMERONTYGETT / TWITTER

The family had set up a lemonade stand in the Walmart parking lot to help raise money for their daughter’s local soccer team. Memo was shot twice in the leg and once in the back as he protected his two children, who were also there. Jessica had been shot three times in both legs; the couple’s children were not struck.

One week after the shooting, Jessica Garcia rose from her wheelchair to deliver an emotional speech from across from the courthouse where the suspected attacker was being kept and decrying the racism that apparently motivated the attack.

“Racism is something I always wanted to think didn’t exist. Obviously, it does,” she said.

The shooter was an alleged white nationalist who specifically targeted the Latino community of El Paso.

The FBI is investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime. The shooting has been described as the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history.

According to CNN, the shooter drove more than 10 hours to the store, located near the Mexican border, specifically to find and kill Latinos. Officials believe he was the person who wrote a racist, xenophobic manifesto posted online minutes before the massacre, in which he warned about a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.

A relative of one of the victims told the El Paso Times that the shooter was mainly looking for Hispanic shoppers to gun down. There are reports from white and Black customers that the gunman let them leave, so he could target Latino shoppers.

Memo’s family plans a proper memorial but given the social distancing rules in-place that will be held at a later date.

The family is planning a proper memorial once the Coronavirus pandemic passes.

“When the pandemic and social distancing orders pass we will have a proper memorial and mass, where the community can pay their respects to an El Paso warrior!”

In the meantime, a vigil for Guillermo Garcia has been planned for Monday, with attendees being asked to remain in their vehicles and “demonstrate our love and honor for Memo by turning on our headlights”, instead of candles.