May 26, 2022
💔 We're struggling over here, and we imagine many of you are, too.
- So today we're dedicating most of this newsletter to Uvalde coverage you probably won't find anywhere else.
- We'll also forgo today's pachanga, but it'll be back next week.
- Puede leer la versión en español aquí.
This newsletter, edited by Astrid Galván and Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath, is 1,661 words, a 6-minute read.
1 big thing: After the massacre, an outpouring
Uvalde residents and people all over Texas and beyond are showing up to support this largely Mexican American town after the massacre that left 19 children and two teachers dead, Marina and Astrid write.
The big picture: An 18-year-old gunman on Tuesday shot and killed students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Details: Like tragedies often do, the Uvalde shooting brought out the good in people.
- Gladys Castillón, mother of a fourth grader, says she took groups of kids being evacuated to another building even while she was unsure if her daughter had made it out. Her daughter is "physically OK," she told Noticias Telemundo.
- Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home, where some of the students hid during the shooting, announced yesterday it was arranging funerals at no cost.
- Many people lined up to donate blood. Others have started fundraisers for the victims' families.
- In San Antonio, local businesses are collecting teddy bears for survivors.
Outside the building where families awaited news of their kids, a few local food trucks offered free fare, Noticias Telemundo reports.
- El Remedio Taco Truck, from San Antonio, stopped by with birria and quesadillas.
- Grief counselors are making themselves available, and local residents are leaving flowers and offering free hugs.
What they're saying: "It's our responsibility and our priority to give back and be there for our community, just the way they're there for us," El Remedio's co-owner Joshua Palacios told the San Antonio Express News.
- "I'm sure the last thing on their minds is eating. So we're going to be there."
2. The Uvalde Mexican American resistance
Uvalde may have been unknown to most Americans before the mass shooting, but this town has deep roots in the Mexican American struggle for civil rights, Russell writes.
The big picture: The massacre took place in a school district home to one of the most crucial school walkouts in civil rights history.
- Uvalde also has educated Latino journalists, historians and intellectuals for generations.
- For decades, residents of the town, named after Spanish military commander Juan de Ugalde, lived with economic and racial divisions between whites and Mexican Americans.
Flashback: In 1970, a small group of Mexican American students in Uvalde staged a walkout to protest the district's refusal to renew the contract of Josue “George” Garza, a popular Mexican American teacher.
- The students gave an all-white school board a list of 14 demands, including hiring more Mexican American educators and offering Chicano history courses.
- The school board refused to negotiate, and the walkout grew from 20o or so students to 500 people. It would last for six weeks and became one of the longest school walkouts in U.S. history.
What they're saying: “We were tired of the discrimination,” former student Sergio Porras told the Voces Oral History Center. “We said, 'We’ve had enough of this. Why don’t we do a huelga, or just walk out?' It just happened.”
The intrigue: The white Uvalde leaders brought in the Texas Rangers to help squash the protests. Texas Rangers stood on buildings with rifles pointed at demonstrators as helicopters flew low.
- The protest was eventually quashed, and students were flunked for a year. Many left and completed school elsewhere.
Yes, but: Mexican Americans in Uvalde were mobilized as the Chicano Movement grew. They ran for office and slowly took over the city's political offices.
3. El Paso memories resurface
Memories of the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that killed 23 and wounded dozens are flooding back for city residents and their leaders, who say Uvalde has a lot of work to do to heal from its own massacre, Astrid writes.
- The alleged shooter, a young white supremacist who drove to El Paso from the Dallas area, has yet to face trial.
What they're saying: El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego, one of the leaders who helped lead the city after the 2019 shooting, said it took him a couple hours to regain his composure after he learned about Uvalde.
- "You have a healing garden, you have a vigil, and (you think) something great will happen and then all of a sudden, you feel like you didn't do anything because it just happens again," Samaniego said.
- Samaniego said it's crucial to talk about those feelings that resurface when there are other shootings. "We can't keep it in our chest."
Former El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, who was at the city’s helm during the shooting, struggled to hold back tears while talking to Axios Latino.
- “I just get emotional every time time I think about or talk about our August 3, and somebody said, ‘Maybe you got PTSD,’ and maybe I do,” Margo said.
- Margo said Uvalde would need to work together to move forward.
The big picture: Although much smaller, the city of Uvalde in many ways is like El Paso. It’s over 80% Hispanic, full of tight-knit families, devout Catholics and hardworking people.
As more information about the Uvalde shooting emerges, El Paso City Council member Cassandra Hernandez said it's hard not to think about the grief experienced in 2019.
- “I think El Pasoans, when we hear about shootings, it takes us to that time. Even though a lot of us were not directly impacted, we still mourn and we still try to take every day day by day,” said Hernandez, who represents the district where the tragedy took place.
- Tuesday's shooting also prompted Hernandez to talk to her children about how to protect themselves, something many parents are grappling with.
4. The victims' stories
They loved to sing and dance, play video games, baseball and softball. They were a grandson learning the game of football; a daughter who loved to draw; teachers with big hearts.
The big picture: The world is only beginning to learn the names, faces and stories of the 19 children and two teachers killed in Tuesday's shooting, Axios' breaking news reporters Erin Doherty and Shawna Chen write.
The identified victims include:
- Nevaeh Bravo, a fourth grader who was the "little cousin" in a big family, her cousin wrote.
- Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10, had been eagerly, but nervously, awaiting her last softball game, her family told a local CBS affiliate.
- Jose Flores Jr., 10, was "always full of energy," his father, Jose Flores Sr., told CNN.
- Makenna Lee Elrod, 10, "was beautiful, funny, smart, and amazing," according to her aunt Allison McCollough.
- Eliahna Garcia, 10, was an outgoing girl who was big into family, her aunt Siria Arizmendi told the Post.
- Uziyah Garcia, 9, was "the sweetest little boy" who loved learning football plays, his grandfather Manny Renfro said, per AP.
- Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was "full of life, a jokester, always smiling," her father told the New York Times.
- Xavier Lopez, 10, was a "bubbly" boy who was anxiously awaiting summer, per AP.
- Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10, loved to make people laugh, the Daily Beast reported.
- Jailah Nicole Silguero, Luevanos' cousin, enjoyed dancing, the 11-year-old's grandmother Linda Gonzales told the Daily Beast. She hadn't wanted to go to school that day.
- Tess Marie Mata was a fourth grader whose family said had a "contagious laugh."
- Alithia Ramirez, 10, was an aspiring artist, her father Ryan Ramirez told a local NBC affiliate.
- Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, was in the same classroom as her cousin, who was also killed in the shooting, her family said, per KHOU reports.
- Her cousin is Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 10, who "had the biggest heart," her father, Jacinto Cazares told ABC 7.
- Lexi Rubio, 10, recently received a good citizen award at Robb Elementary School, her parents told CNN.
- Layla Salazar, 10, liked to dance along to TikTok videos and had a passion for swimming, her father Vincent Salazar told the Washington Post.
- Rojelio Torres, 10, was a "hard-working and helpful person," his aunt Precious Perez told KSAT, according to AP.
- Maite Rodriguez, 10, was a "little girl full of life" who dreamed of attending Texas A&M University and becoming a marine biologist, according to family member Aiko Coronado.
- Miranda Mathis, 11, was "very loving and very talkative," Ismael Yaya Ontiveros, whose daughter Anairayah was close friends with Mathis, told the Austin Statesman.
- Irma Garcia taught at Robb Elementary School for 23 years, per the school's website. The mother of four loved to barbecue with her husband, per the website.
- Eva Mireles, 44, was Garcia's co-teacher. She was remembered as "a beautiful person & dedicated teacher" who was at the school for 17 years.
5. A story in Latin America we're watching
A leftist could become president of Colombia for the first time in over a century, Marina writes.
Driving the news: Gustavo Petro is leading the polls in Sunday’s elections in one of Latin America’s biggest economies.
- Petro has a 17-point lead over conservative Federico “Fico” Gutiérrez, although the crowded election means he probably won't get the required 51% of votes for an outright win, and will probably head to a runoff.
The big picture: Colombia is one of Latin America’s biggest economies and a U.S. ally.
- The country is still reeling after a half-century-long armed conflict with the now-defunct FARC guerrillas, who claimed to be leftists.
- The conflict ostensibly ended with a 2016 peace accord, but no politician has wanted to be labeled a leftist — until Petro, who is running on an anti-corruption platform.
What to watch: A second round among the two candidates with the most votes is scheduled for June 19.
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