By Lisa Maria Chavira

On August 3, 2019, I was home at my apartment in Sunset Heights, El Paso. After the awful news broke, I, like many others, read rumors of multiple shooters at multiple locations near the Cielo Vista area. The first thing I did was contact my loved ones. Both my parents and partner were near that area. I urged my parents to go home quickly. My partner was held at his location for safety. I sent and received several texts from family and friends, both in and outside of El Paso.

Before we all knew the details, everyone was in agreement that no, whoever did this could not possibly be from El Paso. The people of El Paso are so warm and so loving. This monster was not from our community.

I cried and cried and as more details emerged, I cried even harder. How could someone do this? How could someone live with so much hate? So much hate that he drove over 600 miles to kill Mexicans.

I was heartbroken. I was angry. My anger was further fueled as I sat in front of the television and watched as our own governor failed to call the shootings an act of racism and hate but instead cowardly addressed it as a “mental health issue.” However, I was thankful to see Congresswoman Veronica Escobar’s strength and honesty as she grabbed the microphone and state that this was an act of hate, racism and bigotry and division.

Though the days that followed were heavy, seeing all the love and strength as all of El Paso came together and helped each other out was so beautiful. And it was a great reminder of the kind of people that live here.

We are still healing, and we will for a long time. But we are strong, resilient and compassionate. That’s why I am, and always will be, proud to be from El Paso.

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