Chanting “gun reform now,” ″ El Paso strong” and “aquí estamos y no nos vamos” (Spanish for “here we are and we are not leaving”), over 100 protestors marched through El Paso, Tx. on Saturday after the racially-motivated mass shooting that look nearly two dozen lives last week. The protest was officially called the League of United Latin American Citizens’ “March for a United America.”
The marchers were a mix of Hispanic and Latino, white and Black people dressed in white to symbolize peace and carrying 22 white wooden crosses to represent the victims of the shooting at the El Paso Walmart.
The murderer, Patrick Crusius, said that he had been targeting “Mexicans” when he decided to shoot up the Walmart. He used an AK-47 rifle. Crusius has been charged with capital murder in the attack. Federal prosecutors may add hate crime charges after his racist manifesto, echoing many of President Donald Trump’s sentiments and statements, was posted online.
“Racism is something I always wanted to think didn’t exist. Obviously, it does,” Coca Garcia told the crowd after standing up from a wheelchair. Bandages covered gunshot wounds to her leg – she was one of the El Paso survivors, the Associated Press reported. “I love you, El Paso. This is where I’m going to stay.”
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Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, also spoke to the crowd gathered on Saturday. O’Rourke is one of many who has blamed President Donald Trump’s rhetoric for spreading fear and hate.
Many Hispanics and Latinos across the country are worried about being either deported or made targets of violent attacks.
“It’s almost like we’re hitting a climax of some kind,” Jennifer Garcia, a 23-year-old University of New Mexico student originally from Mexico, told AP News in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Some people, especially our elders, don’t even want to leave the house or speak Spanish.”