On Aug. 3, Patrick Wood Crusius, 21, entered the Walmart in El Paso, TX and murdered 22 people and injured another 24–mostly targeting immigrants and their families.
Crusius was arrested shortly after the shooting began and charged with capital murder. Police believe he had published a white nationalist, anti-immigrant manifesto immediately before the attack, citing inspiration from this year’s Christ Church mosque shootings in New Zealand and mentioning white-genocide conspiracy theories.
Some of his manifesto mirrored the political rhetoric being spewed by the White House–warning of an ‘immigrant invasion’. Many political pundits saw the similarity between Crusius words and those of President Donald Trump during a rally in El Paso earlier this year.
The East Boston Ecumenical Community Council’s (EBECC) President Frank Ramirez, who has worked for decades fighting for immigrants rights in Eastie, and Janet Murguia president of UnidosUS, the largest Latino organization in the country, recently commented on the tragedy in El Paso.
EBECC has been an affiliate of UnidosUS since 2008.
“The devastating tragedy in El Paso was a stark reminder that fueling hate and promoting division has tragic consequences,” said Murguia. “Much of the work we have done in the past several years under this Administration has been to try and protect the policies and programs that have been instrumental in helping to uplift our families and communities, as well as push back against the racist rhetoric Trump has tried to normalize. We will not tolerate a continuation of this attack on our communities. And that it’s time for a broader effort to bring together the vast majority of Americans in rejection of the fear, hate, division, and violence that have become all too commonplace.”
In a recent New York Times editorial Murguia said the time is now for meaningful dialogue over this issue.
“UnidosUS, the organization of which I am president, believes it is long past time for a thoughtful dialogue that involves all communities who have been pitted against each other,” she wrote. “Such a dialogue would seek to not only challenge hateful rhetoric but also to elevate the values of our pluralistic society and advance equal opportunity for all. And I can assure you that if other communities are willing to join us, Latinos are prepared to lead the way.
EBECC’s Ramirez said while he applauds Murguia’s appeal for dialogue in her editorial, he wonders given the recent horrific events in El Paso Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, if the term “dialog” is inappropriate.
“Because it implies that two groups are taking to find solutions to hate crimes, when in reality, what is happening is that under the licensing of demagogic rhetoric and legislative inaction at the Senate and other Republican leaders in Washington some individuals choose to shoot while immigrant communities, in the present case Latinos, are just being victimized and then protesting pacifically and covering themselves to save their lives,” he said. “So dialogue with whom and among whom? We need action to put and end to hate. But I agree with Janet (Murguia) that fueling hate and promoting division has tragic consequences.”