Things That Matter

El Paso Artists Joined Together To Commemorate El Paso Gun Violence Victims With A Mural That Highlights Community Strength

Just seven weeks after the massacre at an El Paso Wal-Mart that took the lives of 22 people and injured 24 others, the border city is still recovering from their tragic losses. Though the victims have been laid to rest and the survivors are working towards healing, the city is still feeling the effects of the life-shattering experience. 

As national news has moved on from the tragedy, the minds and hearts of local El Pasoans are still with the embattled town. 

With that in mind, a new mural created by a pair of talented street artists has been created to celebrate the power of the Texas town. 

Twitter / @AlyssaCBS4

El Paso brothers, John Ramirez and Jamie Hernandez Jr., worked hard to craft this graffiti style mural. Reading “El Poderoso Tejano,” the vast wall painting is located between Ascarate Street and Valencia Place on the United States side of the border city. The mural was sponsored by local tee-shirt company, OG Family. The company will be selling tee-shirts of the mural design and all profits from their sale will go to the victims of the El Paso assault.

“It shows that everybody came as a community,” David Barbosa, co-owner of OG Family said of the mural. “For one purpose. That purpose is to show that we’re united no matter what happens. At the end, El Paso is united.”

The mural will also be featured in a music video for local El Paso record label, 915 Records Familia. The rap video will be filmed on September 28th. During the video shoot, a local car show will also take place at the mural’s site bringing together El Paso’s car community, rap community and street art community all in one spot. 

Though the Ramirez Brothers are now getting the credit they deserve for this mural, they were not named by local El Paso media who first reported the new artwork

Twitter / @cassyjernandez1 

In a video first promoting the mural, the brothers were not named as the artists. Instead, they were called “unlikely artists” and “former gang members.” Thankfully, Cassie Hernandez, a family member of the two artists, took to Twitter and credited them for their amazing work. 

In response, Twitter applauded the Ramirez Brothers’ craftsmanship and celebrated the spirit of El Paso’s survivors. 

 Twitter / @braydenbern

This Twitter user called out the attention to detail the artists put into the piece and also credited their commitment to graffiti-style art. The street art style came into popularity in the 1980s with the emergence of hip-hop culture. Cholo-inspired graffiti script especially became a calling card of Latinx communities and their street artists. While street art was once looked down upon, it is now celebrated for the unique and bold art form that it is.  

Many supporters were offended on the Ramirez Brothers’ behalf for the dis by local news. 

 Twitter / @angelitaaaxo

The original news story definitely did a disservice by leaving out the Ramirez Brothers’ names and by calling out any speculative former gang affiliation they might have had. Instead, their work as amazing artists and dedicated members of their community should be commended. There’s nothing “unlikely” about their talent or their love for El Paso.

This mural joins others that have recently gone up in El Paso to honor the victims of mass shootings.

Tweet / @thedailybeast

A mural honoring Joaquin Oliver, a victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was unveiled the day after the tragedy in El Paso. The mural was planned before the Wal-Mart attack so the timing made the new addition to El Paso even more heartbreaking. Local artist Gabe Vasquez also created a mural reading “El Paso Strong” dedicated to the spirit of the border city.

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Are The Women Fighting To Find The Stolen Children During The Argentine Dictatorship

Things That Matter

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Are The Women Fighting To Find The Stolen Children During The Argentine Dictatorship

Sundance Institute

During the 1970s a group of desperate Argentinian mothers began protesting government officials and holding them accountable for the human rights violations that had been committed in the military junta  known as the Dirty War. The determined women violated the government’s law against mass assembly and risked the ire of Argentina’s military dictatorship to expose the government’s human rights violations. The biggest part of their fight however had been to expose the kidnapping of over 30,000 individuals known today as “Desaparecidos” or “the disappeared.”

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (or, the Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo) is a movement of Argentine mothers who campaigned to find out what happened to their children who had “disappeared” during the 1976 government takeover.

The mothers’ tragic stories began in 1976. At the time the Argentine military had toppled the presidency of Isabel Perón. According to History.com, “it was part of a larger series of political coups called Operation Condor, a campaign sponsored and supported by the United States.” The new military dictatorship resulted in the Dirty War, which was ultimately a fight against the Argentinian people. It opened doors to a period of state-sponsored torture and terrorism and saw the government turn against Argentina’s citizens, targeting those suspected of being aligned with leftist, socialist or social justice. As part of the rule of terror, the government kidnapped and killed an estimated 30,000 people. They also made great efforts to cover up the dead and missing people.

But the family members and friends of the missing victims fought for the truth.

The mothers and relatives of people who went missing during the war searched for their loved ones and began to stage protests at the Plaza de Mayo in the 1980s. 

According to History.com “Some of the mothers of the disappeared were grandmothers who had seen their daughters whisked away and presumably killed and their grandchildren given away to other families. Even after the Dirty War ended in 1983, the Grandmothers of the Plaza Mayo have searched for answers and worked to identify children who grew up without any knowledge of their true parents.”

Today the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have verified the identities of 128 stolen children, thanks to DNA identification techniques but the fight of these mothers and grandmothers lives on. Sadly, thousands of Argentinian children remain missing.

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo is a 1985 Argentine documentary film that highlights the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

At the time of its release, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and in 2013, received an update on “Abuelas: Grandmothers on a Mission” which highlights the work of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.

The Police’s Reaction To The Black Lives Matter Protests For George Floyd Vs. Anti-Quarantine Demonstrators Says A Lot

Things That Matter

The Police’s Reaction To The Black Lives Matter Protests For George Floyd Vs. Anti-Quarantine Demonstrators Says A Lot

Stephen Maturen / Stringer

Derek Chauvin (a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department) pinned George Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck for seven minutes.

For the first three minutes of being restrained Floyd (a 46-year-old Black man) pled for his life begging Chauvin to remove his knee because he couldn’t breathe. After four minutes Floyd stopped moving, and bystanders capturing video of the request determined that he was unresponsive. The aftermath of his death after sparked explosive protests and reminders, yet again, that Black people are not safe in this country and continue to. be subjected to inequality.

On Tuesday morning, video of the incident that took place on a sidewalk in Minneapolis surfaced online fueling anger and protests.

There’s so much in the video that is distressing, but hearing Floyd begging the officer to let up and repeating “I can’t breathe” is only a small part that has once fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. After all, we’ve heard those words before. In 2014, Eric Garner, uttered the same ones while dying under police brutality in New York.

At the time of his death, Floyd had been facing arrest. The officers involved in the incident had been called to the scene due to a “forgery in progress” in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. Note, forgery while a serious crime is a non-violent one.

Darnella Frazier is the woman who captured the video on her phone and posted the footage on Facebook for the world to see.

On Tuesday, May 26, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced that the officers involved had been placed on leave. Later on in the day, four responding officers were fired and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the incident was being reviewed.

Reactions to the protests show another glaring reminder of the treatment of Black people in the United States vs. white.

Reactions to anti-mask protests and demonstrations against government stay-at-home orders in the past few weeks have been met with stoic reactions.

You’ve seen the images. In the face of demonstrators furious about the safety restrictions implemented to combat COVID-19, police officers and government officials have responded primarily with nonviolence. We’ve seen no stun grenades or tear gas.

But the crowds of Black protestors rallying for “Justice for George” have been met with riot gear and chemical agents. According to reports around 8:00 pm of the protests police in riot gear fired sandbag rounds, rubber bullets, and pepper spray.

Once again, Black people are being forced to fight for their lives while non-Black people of color get off easy while saying or doing little from the sidelines.