It’s been three years since an act of terrorism fueled by white supremacy and far-right extremism robbed the El Paso community of 23 lives.
While shopping at their local Walmart during the busy weekend before back-to-school, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sons, and daughters were gunned down by a domestic terrorist. He’d driven 10 hours just to target Latinos and immigrants at this particular Walmart, where almost everyone from El Paso and nearby bordering towns, like Chihuahua, Mexico, come to shop for their families.
Jordan and Andre Anchondo (25 and 24), Javier Amir Rodriguez (15), David Johnson (63), Angie Englisbee (86), Arturo Benavides (60), Elsa Mendoza Marquez (57), Leonardo Campos (41), Maribel Loya (56), Juan Velazquez (77), Gloria Irma Marquez (61), Maria Eugenia Legarreta Rothe (58), Sara Esther Regalado (66), Adolfo Cerros Hernandez (68), Margie Reckard (63), Ivan Filiberto Manzano (46), Jorge Calvillo Garcia (61), Maria Flores and Raul Flores, Alexander Hoffman (66), Teresa Sanchez (82), Luis Alfonzo Juarez (90), and Guillermo Garcia all lost their lives that day, and the community has been forever changed.
We cannot honor the victims of the El Paso shooting without acknowledging how much work is still needed to prevent more of these senseless tragedies. Just more than two months ago — another Texas community was stricken by unimaginable grief when we lost 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. Still, state leaders have ignored public outcry and refuse to call a special session on gun reform and safety.
On the third anniversary of the tragedy in El Paso, our Texas Rising Student Leaders from the community find themselves reflecting on what they remember from that day, how El Pasoans continue healing together, and why their work as activists is essential as we continue building the power needed to create a world where our children always come home from school, and we can shop, see movies, go to concerts, and buy groceries for our families without fear.