MCALLEN, Texas – Organizations that work with immigrant rights are hosting vigils across the state for those who died in the shootings that took place Dayton, Ohio and El Paso. One of those vigils was held in the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday. It was the same day President Donald Trump visited Texas; sparking anger among the Hispanic community.
Archer Park in McAllen was the site for one of those vigils. Dozens of people gathered to stand in solidarity and honor the victims of those shootings where more than 30 people were killed and dozens were injured.
Blanca Muñoz, LUPE, “We want to be united with them in pain and solidarity. There are things we cannot tolerate. This is really, really, sad. We feel for the families, what they’re going through.”
The candlelight vigil was held by the immigration rights organization La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE). They mourned those children, elderly and parents who lost their lives and those Mexican nationals; one of the shooters main targets.
Tania Chavez, LUPE, “The fact that we have to host this vigil is very hurtful. As a Mexican immigrant you feel that such an act of hate is not only perpetrated against you, but it’s also perpetrated against a community that you stand with and defend and live with every day.”
Many candles were lit up as a symbol of unity and held signs reading “El Paso Strong”. Community members also expressed their anger towards President Trumps visit to El Paso five days after the shooting.
Blanca Muñoz, “What the president has been preaching and this is one of the results that the people are doing. What he mentioned that he wanted to get rid of all the Mexicans and the Central Americans. So their responding to his wishes, his command.”
21-year-old Patrick Crusius opened fired inside a Walmart in El Paso on Saturday morning, aiming towards the Hispanic community, killing 22 people. According to his manifesto he wanted to get rid of as many Mexicans as possible. He said they were invading Texas. Hours later 24-year-old Connor Bett killed nine people in a bar in Dayton, Ohio, killing his own sister.
Tania Chavez, “Today is about grieving, today is about being together as a community, but tomorrow we’re active tomorrow. We’re ready to take action.”
Multiple organizations are offering free counseling services in the Rio Grande Valley. For more information contact LUPE at (956) 787-2233.