By John-Michael Torres of La Unión del Pueblo Entero | August 6, 2019
In response to the white supremacist act of terror in El Paso, Texas, John-Michael Torres of Equal Voice ally La Unión del Pueblo Entero shares a statement of solidarity and highlights a nationwide day of action on August 7th. Read the statement and find a solidarity vigil near you.
“As border residents, we feel your pain and are grieving with you.”
SAN JUAN, TX—To our El Paso and Ciudad Juarez family, we declare our love and solidarity. We are heartbroken over the hate and terror inflicted on your community and on your hearts. As border residents, we feel your pain and are grieving with you.
To our Rio Grande Valley family, we understand your fear, we know you’re thinking this could have been us. The commitment we make to you is that we will continue to advocate for inclusive policies that don’t terrorize our communities.
Border communities are bi-national and multicultural communities, immigrant communities, and Mexican Americans, Hispanics, chicanxs, latinx, Muslims and people of color whose diversity makes our region and our nation strong. There is no border between the love we have for our family and neighbors, no matter on what side of the river they reside. We are all attacked by this act of terror, which we know is an extension of the everyday acts of hate and dehumanization perpetrated by ICE, the Border Patrol, and the Trump Administration throughout our region.
Official policies that violate rights based on the color of our skin, where we were born, or how we pray only embolden white supremacists while dividing us and making us weaker in our ability to respond to attacks. Violent white nationalists see their own ideals reflected in government policies that separate families, cage children, exclude Muslims and asylum seekers, subject men, women, and children to abhorrent conditions in border jails, and banish community members to incarceration and deportation.
Dr Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Only a national community that affirms human dignity and worth can root out white nationalism and racial hate. Boundaries of race, national origin, or religion do not delineate who is deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Border residents are advancing a vision of the border based in human rights that expands public safety, protects human life, and welcomes people at the border. Just as we join together to grieve this senseless act of violence against a peaceful, loving community, we can join together to push back against racial hate and win border and immigration process that uphold our shared dignity.
We never thought we would have to, but we will start a contingency plan for the immigrant community in the event we are ever faced with such a depraved and cowardly act like our family in El Paso lived. Let’s stand together, provide support to each other and most importantly provide support to our friends and family in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
El Pasoans invite all community organizations and residents to sign on to this letter asking President Trump NOT to visit El Paso on Wednesday in the wake of this weekend’s shooting. You can see the letter and sign on here.
El Paso-based organizations are convening a nationwide day of action on Wednesday, August 7th, to call out, condemn, and resist the emergent intersection of white supremacy and mass, terroristic, gun violence. Find or host an event at this website.
Rio Grande Valley community members will come together for a vigil in McAllen, Texas this Wednesday, August 7th, at 7PM CT in Archer Park.
La Unión del Pueblo Entero was founded by labor rights activist César Chávez & Dolores Huerta, LUPE builds stronger, healthier communities where colonia residents use the power of civic engagement for social change. From fighting deportations, to providing social services and English classes, to organizing for streetlights and drainage, LUPE responds to the needs of the community, and takes action that creates a chance for a better life.