The National Story of the El Paso and Dayton Shootings

Letters to the Editor: Latinx communities fighting racism don’t need Martinez, Cedillo and De León

August 8, 2018 —

Latinx communities across the United States have become the focus of national attention with a growing number of incidents of anti-Latino discrimination, violence, and police misconduct. For those who don’t live around the country, the story is one of how the government responded when it became apparent that the violence in communities of color was becoming more serious and deadly.

However, this national story has only one part: how the government handled it, which is far more important and relevant to Latinos.

For the past two weeks, news outlets across the country have been asking why the government didn’t do more to stop the violence from starting or prevent it from getting out of hand. The lack of a comprehensive response by elected officials who are called to protect public safety has led to thousands of deaths from incidents of police misconduct.

The problem with the national story is that it’s only two weeks old. We could have an extended national discussion about the lack of a clear response from the highest levels of the government, but that would be an unfair conversation, since every moment we wait for a comprehensive response, we lose more lives.

The response from the Trump administration, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has been incomplete and inadequate. We don’t need to be reminded that two of the three individuals who were on the field the night of the protests were white men.

It’s important to know who the people on the field were, who they responded to, who they supported, and why. That’s what is at risk of being lost within the national discussions about the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — discussions where we haven’t spoken to the people who were on the field. These events should be the focus of all of our efforts to stop racial discrimination, violence, and police misconduct.

At this moment, the voices of the people who were on the field are missing from the national story. We cannot use the events of the past two weeks to create momentum or to address the systemic racism, violence, and discrimination that keeps communities of color from feeling safe.

The stories of these people shouldn’t be forgotten. What is at risk

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