Today our partners at Community Justice Action Fund penned the following letter signed by Black and Latinx Leaders across Texas to demand an end to Gun Violence in our communities following the deadly mass shooting in El Paso:
We, the undersigned Black and Latinx leaders of Texas organizations fighting for progressive change, represent millions of Texans who believe in the spirit and promise of our cherished home. We are sixth-generation Texans and first-generation immigrants, descendants of the enslaved and those who sought refuge in Texas for the promise of a better life for their children.
We are heartbroken in the wake of the hate-fueled massacre of Latinx Texans two weeks ago in El Paso. Our communities are still reeling, not only from the twenty-two deaths, but from the racially-motivated hostility and neglect that is putting our lives increasingly at risk. As long as our elected representatives continue to elevate access to guns over the health and safety of our families, we cannot count ourselves safe.
Every year, over 3,500 Texans die by gun violence. Gun violence in urban areas like Dallas has dramatically increased. 15 people died by guns in May of 2018. That number nearly tripled to a record high of more than 40 lives lost in May 2019.
As Black and Latinx Texans, we know — and have always known — what our communities need to be transformed in order to be safe and whole: basic economic opportunity, clean air and water, quality schools, and affordable health care. More, deadlier guns are nowhere on the list.
Many in the media have said “enough is enough” regarding the senseless acts of violence in our state. We agree. Besides just saying “enough,” we are demanding America and Texas respect our power as Black and Latinx people. We built this state. We are the cogs in the wheels of this state. We keep this state safe. This is our Texas.
We join our voices today to say to you plainly: we will show up for each other when our families are in cages. We will show up for each other when the young men and women we love are shot and killed on our city streets. We are committed to each other’s safety and dedicated to each other’s wellbeing. As we always have, we will continue to work together to build a shared agenda rooted in the resiliency of our people to combat the direct impacts of violence on our families. The safe, healthy, and compassionate Texas we seek will be the product of our collective action.
On September 23rd we will gather in El Paso to remember those we have lost, and to honor those who survived, and to plan for the safety and success of those coming behind us. Just as our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents before us, we will continue to fight for the Texas we deserve. We have no choice: this is our home.
- Aimee Arrambide, NARAL, Texas Executive Director
- Akilah S. Wallace, Faith in Texas, Executive Director
- Amanda Beatriz Williams, Lilith Fund, Executive Director
- Amber Goodwin, Community Justice Action Fund, Executive Director
- Angelica Razo, Mi Familia Vota, Texas Deputy Director
- Anthony Gutierrez, Common Cause, Texas Executive Director
- Brianna Carmen, Voto Latino, Director of Organizing and Partnerships
- Cesar Espinoza, FIEL HOUSTON INC, Executive Director
- Dyana Limon-Mercado , Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Executive Director
- Edwin Robinson, Faith in Action, Southern Strategy
- Giselle López Estrada, March For Our Lives Texas, Lead for the Dallas chapter
- Jaclyn Uresti, Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC), Executive Director
- Luis Figueroa, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Legislative and Policy Director
- Michelle Tremillo, Texas Organizing Project, Executive Director
- Oscar Silva, Battleground Texas, Executive Director
- Raven Douglas, MOVE Texas, Deputy Director
- Royce Brooks, Annie’s List, Executive Director
- Sasha Legette, Pure Justice, Executive Director
- Val Benavidez, Texas Freedom Network/Texas Rising, Chief Program Officer
- Venton Hill-Jones, Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network, Inc, Chief Executive Officer
- Yvonne Gutierrez, Supermajority, Head of Community Engagement