Communities Shaken but Undeterred After El Paso

Credit: DenisTangneyJr.

The recent act of domestic terrorism that shook El Paso has created a far-reaching effect on immigrants and minorities across the country. Communities were shaken by the act that ended 22 lives even before the shooter’s manifesto was discovered. The shooter, who shall go nameless here, created a document of hate spouting racist and nationalistic rhetoric targeting members of the immigrant and Latinx communities. The gunman made his hatred of Latinx no secret. Communities are reeling in the aftermath across the country, seeing this as an escalation of previous acts, such as telling people not to speak Spanish.

In St. Louis, Missouri, Jorge Chepote, a 49-year-old business executive, says he now fears for his children’s safety. He says the attack also makes him hope there will be more security at Latin events across the country. Cheopte, a naturalized US citizen, says more than anything he fears the direction the country is going. Despite the fear, he says this will not let him or his family change their lifestyles; in doing so, they say the fear will win.

In Wisconsin, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, describes the El Paso shooting as a wake-up call to what she has seen beginning to manifest in her own community. She’s noticing more bullying against immigrants with some even escalating into hate crimes. She sees more fear but also sees more action from people who are standing up for their rights and refusing to give into the fear.

In El Paso itself, community members are understandably distraught but also find themselves confused. To them, the community was always one of acceptance and beauty. The city, being more than 80% Latinx, is home to many immigrants and first- and second-generation Americans. Many of those also escaping or fleeing their countries for a better life. They found El Paso a welcoming community where everyone looked after each other. While this attack may have shaken many people’s nerves, the community refuses to let this act of hate deter them from being the community they remember and love.