This past April I was walking down Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco, commonly known as La Mission, a historically Latino community, the home of Carnaval, low riders, and generations of Latino families. La Mission is my adopted work home – I am a newcomer to the community, having just arrived nearly six years ago. La Mission is a community that has proven itself resilient and resistant in the face of a hostile takeover by first-wave hipster gentrifiers and now high-earning tech professionals with little to no knowledge of the depth and richness of the neighborhood.
That particular afternoon, I was wearing a blue Mexican embroidered dress I had bought at a small business located at a CRC member’s office building, MEDA. As I walked, a man approached behind me and said, “Mexican N——! As HE has said, there are too many of you. All it takes is one bullet.” My breath stopped in my chest. I knew who the man meant by “HE,” and I ran away as fast as I could.
As I heard of the reports coming in from El Paso and other shootings this weekend, I immediately knew. With the words of Trump ringing in my ears – “Send her back…” “The invasion of illegals…” “Knock the crap out of them…” “Fine people on both sides…” and the words of the man in the Mission – “All it takes is one bullet”- my blood ran cold. In my heart, I saw my community, our community crying, leaving the Walmart in a panic. We knew it as we began to hear reports that the victims were afraid to go to reunification centers and hospitals due to their immigration status. After all, this is the reality of our communities; CRC members began to report this level of fear soon after Trump’s election.
As I read the statements coming from our elected leaders, the focus group-tested thoughts and prayers on gun control don’t entirely reflect what’s happening today.
White nationalism is rising and domestic terrorism perpetuated by white supremacists is sparking ongoing violence in our communities. From the recent shootings in the Oak Creek temple to the AME Church in Charleston, we’ve seen gun violence prey upon our communities by white supremacists. It’s not normal for the President of the United States to give a pass and incite racist rage on the stump and in the Oval Office to embolden those who torment our people.
Every person of color in California remains on high alert, and I know that Californian Latinos fear for their lives in places we live, worship, eat, shop and sleep.
Those of us who have been living under the death grip of Donald Trump and this administration, who have seen OUR families and communities detained, caged, torn apart, terrorized, killed, threatened, and so much more, we feel it in our core. It manifests as physical pain engraved in our ancestral DNA. And we also know that there is a through line from the hate coming from the White House directed at immigrants and people of color to the El Paso terrorist.
When Trump was elected, CRC pledged to resist the right-wing xenophobia of this president. We remain unwavering in our commitment. White supremacy is ruling the White House. It is ruling our system of government openly and unapologetically. We will continue to be unapologetic in our defense of our communities and the vision in which we build; one in which white supremacy is overthrown, and which people of color and immigrants write their own present and future.
Executive Director, CRC