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Home | Tag Archives: trump in el paso

Tag Archives: trump in el paso

The Wondering Latina: A Night of Hope in the Desert

“When Mexico send its people they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing  drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapist.” – Donald Trump June 2015

This is the moment that changed everything for me and my community.

I was traveling across the country at the time and I distinctly remember how strong the shift in energy happened. It seemed that overnight this presidential candidate had blown a whistle making it ok to unleash Mexican hate, brown hate.

All of sudden, I found myself limiting my Spanish speaking in public, afraid to be myself, afraid to be Latina.

As I have previously written, these were fears that I had not experienced since I was a child. To be going through this again as an adult was mind-boggling and jarring.  There is no way this man can become president. There is no way this kind of hate speech can be allowed from a presidential candidate, can it?

As it turned out, yes, it was allowed and yes, he became president.

My life in Trump’s America is vastly different. Not only am I afraid to speak Spanish in public but my lifestyle is different, too.

I try not to travel as much, I am afraid of being “randomly selected” for questioning if I leave the country; as has happened to so many people. I travel with my passport at all times – even though I was born here – because I don’t want to “accidentally” be taken into custody while they “verify” my birth.

These things have happened to U.S. citizens. If you’re one of those people that lives in a bubble and thinks those things are NOT possible, well then in the words of George Strait, “I’ve got some oceanside property in Arizona” for ya.

These things do happen, they have happened to people I know, they have happened – in varying degrees – to me.

Since Trump has taken office, I have been pulled over countless times driving across Texas for work; no violations, no citations given, no speeding, no expired stickers, no broken lights, etc… always told “just wanting to check things out.”

I know what that means, I hand them my driver’s license AND my passport at the same time because I don’t have time for a modern day version of the “Spanish Inquisition.”

Like many of  you,  I have watched Trump berate and drag not only Latinos and the undocumented community through the mud, but also Muslims, Indigenous Peoples’, African Americans, Women, LGBTQ, people with Disabilities and the majority of Americans that disagree with him.

Needless to say, it has been EXHAUSTING. But over the last few weeks, something has been different, instead of sticking to his usual racist rants about the “southern border” he picked and targeted my hometown, by specifically naming El Paso in his speeches and spreading false accusations about our community.

During the State of the Union address last week, Trump decided to turn it up and tell the nation that at one point El Paso was the most dangerous city in the country. LIES. I’m sure many of you were like me, LIVID. To begin with, as Mexican (Mex-Americans) our blood already runs filled with orgullo, add the fact that we’re Texans, that’s a strong dose of extra pomposity to our character AND I am part of those folks filled with border pride; so listening to someone trash my city, my home…it is the same severity as slapping a loved one.

To add insult to injury, Trump decided to head to our Sun City and launch his first 2019 rally here. HELL NO.

The man that kicked off his campaign on day one by stating to the world that me and my Mexican, Mexican-American community, my culture, heritage, family and friends, were all “rapist and criminals.”

  • The man who has called for the Muslim ban
  • The man who called African nations sh**holes
  • The man who passed the unprecedented zero-tolerance immigration policy, tearing families apart
  • The man who has never acknowledged that Black Lives Matter
  • The man who has publicly called KKK members “very fine people”
  • The man who continuously uses historic Native American names in ridicule and ‘fun.’
  • The man who has verbally condoned sexual assault on women “grab them by the p***y”
  • The man who mocked a person with a disability on national TV
  • The man who has called for a ban of Transgender Americans in the military

That same man was now coming to our house and the eyes of the nation would be upon us, how would we respond?

I have participated in enough protest and marches here, that I expected a decent turnout, but nothing prepared for Monday night.

It was a school night, a Monday, it was really cold and windy so I prepared myself for a low turnout, thinking people had to get to work the next day, they have to get the kids ready, etc…but that didn’t happen.

I arrived to the March For Truth rally at Bowie around 3 p.m. and the parking lot was already filled, I was beyond happy. However, as the hours passed the crowd kept growing and growing, by the time we were ready to march around 6 p.m. you couldn’t see where the crowd ended.

I was at the front of the march taking video and photos, then with perfect precision the organizers instructed us all to line up and we began to march and chant in sync.

With the sun setting I decided to put away my phone and march with the group. After a few minutes, the sound of voices booming echoed through the air, so much so, that I had to stop and turn around. What was behind me was not a wave, it was a Tsunami of hope.

I ran to the side of the march and took footage of the never-ending flood of people marching. Minutes passed and I was nowhere near finished filming the line.

To give you perspective, I was at the front nearing Delta Center, the line of people ran the length of the Chamizal on the border highway and stretched all the way past Bowie High School.

Every person that has been attacked, been insulted, been persecuted, by the current president…we were all there to say, no sir you will not belittle us, your hate will not win. My eyes filled with tears at, literally, the outpouring of pride.

El Paso showed up bigger than I could ever have imagined.

We arrived at the “Celebration of El Paso” party taking place right next door to the Trump rally, we could see the big screens and hear their music from where we were located. With Mariachi music blasting, we all poured in and began singing and dancing, people waving Sage smudge sticks blessing the space and peace took over the energy.

Yes, there were agitators there to provoke us but the weirdest thing happened, I can’t explain why or how; as angry as I have been and with agitators yelling in our faces, I didn’t care, somehow those red hats didn’t matter.

Maybe it was the sage, but the pride that I had in my city filled my heart…and for that moment, love did trump hate.

Word came in that Trump had arrived and was taking the stage, the Mariachi group then announced “we dedicate this to Mr. Trump” and a familiar beloved song filled the air, Viva México.

We all laughed and sang our hearts out. For me, it was all I could do to hold back my tears. El Paso is my home, this is where I was born and raised, it is my foundation, it is where my heart lives, my mother, my family, it is an extension of me…so I sang with all I had, to let that man know, I can’t have anyone talking about my city.

Trump may speak loudly, but El Paso had the last word.

I love you El Paso. Thank you to all the amazing groups and activists that organized. Thank you to the families, the people, each and every person who showed up to say “NO” to racism!

The civil rights era started with a defining moment that became a movement, for equality.

This was our defining moment.

Children will one day read about this and ask about this, we can tell them we stood up and fought for our community, we marched for truth, we defended El Paso.

***

To read Yolitzma’s previous columns, click here.

Gallery+Story: Thousands ‘March for Truth’ in Response to President Trump’s Visit

Dressed in warm winter gear, and fighting wind and cold temperatures thousands drove, Ubered, Lyfted, and walked to gather next to Bowie High School, for the March for Truth -in protest of President Donald Trump’s visit to the borderland on Monday.

Many in the crowd held colorful signs that varied from Basta Trump (Stop Trump), to We Don’t Need a Border Wall. Others illustrated Trump’s hair disheveled by wind; and at the rendezvous point, at Chalio Acosta Park, a large inflated balloon showcased the president dressed in a clansman outfit.

The March for Truth, led by the El Paso Women’s March, in conjunction with the Border Network for Human Rights and 45 more organizations, began just a mile east from the El Paso County Coliseum, where President Donald Trump would make his appearance.

With the backdrop of the U.S. Border behind them; and the sunset of the Franklin Mountains in front former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke and newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar spoke to the crowd.

“We have had a difficult two years El Paso,” Escobar said. “We have been at the center of the politics of cruelty. Politics that have ripped children from the arms of their mothers. Politics that have been preventing asylum seekers from seeking refuge on this very soil. Politics of cruelty that have imprisoned children in Tornillo. And are we angry? You’re damn right we are angry.”

Cheers and applause erupted.

Additional speakers at the March included former State Senator Wendy Davis; Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights; Ruben Garcia, Director of the Annunciation House; Linda Rivas, and Claudia Yoli Ferla, a DACA Dreamer who was brought here illegally as a child by her mother in the hopes of seeking a better life.

“In El Paso she was a waitress, a cook, a dishwasher a caregiver, a school crossing guard – you name it,” Ferla said. “She was everything and anything she needed to be proudly so that I could be provided with a normal childhood despite being undocumented. […]So when this man (Trump), comes into mine, yours and our community, to tell us everything like lies and hate – I am reminded of the root of my power – my mother’s love. My mother’s dreams. And together in comunidad we have the power to also fight back – because when they hurt one of us – they hurt all of us.”

With the crowd pumped, event speakers led the march down Delta Drive, and into Chalio Acosta Park where mariachis and several other musicians welcomed the large crowd.  Then, O’Rourke took the stage.

“The city has been one of the safest in the United States of America,” He said. “For 20 years and counting it was safe long before a wall was built here in 2008. In fact, a little less safe after the wall was built. We can show, as we make our stand here together tonight, that walls do not make us safer. Walls will require us to take someone’s property – their house, their farm, their ranch. We know that walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.”

In his speech, O’Rourke mentioned the history of El Paso, including the story of Thelma White, who was denied admission into Texas Western University in 1954 because she was black. White hired attorney Thurgood Marshall, and in 1955 U.S. District Judge R.E. Thomason ruled in favor or white, allowing her and in turn – other black students admission to higher education in El Paso.

O’Rouke told the story of the 1949 Bowie Bears Baseball Team who won the championship in Austin after witnessing racism at the hotels and restaurants; He told the story of World War I Veteran Marcelino Serna, a U.S. Army Pvt, who became a U.S. citizen in 1924.

Serna was the first Hispanic to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The port of entry between Tornillo and Guadalupe Mexico was named in his honor. O’Rourke then pointed to the park across the way, named after the World War II Veterans Company E – many of them who were seniors from Bowie High school who served in France, Italy and North Africa.

“Here in the largest bi-national community, in the western hemisphere, 2.5 million people; two countries; speaking two languages and two cultures and two histories – who come together and are joined – not separated – by the Rio Grande River. We are forming something far greater and more powerful than the sum of people; or the sum of our parts. We have so much to give and so much to show the rest of the country and we are doing it right now.”

Just after 7 p.m., through gusts of wind, President Trump’s introductory song, the Rolling Stone’s, “Sympathy for the Devil,” could be heard. It was followed by Trump’s voice that echoed and the cheers and shouts could be heard from the inside the El Paso County Coliseum just a short distance away.

O’Rourke and march supporters were not deterred as they cheered and chanted, “Si se Puede,” and “Beto! Beto!” and “USA! USA!” O’Rourke then called for immigration reform to include safety for asylum seekers, citizenship for Dreamers and their parents, investment in better infrastructure for the personnel and the ports of entry.

Both the march and the rally come days after President Trump incorrectly claimed during the State of the Union on February 7, after it was delayed a week due to the Government shutdown, that El Paso was considered at one point, “one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities” and that the Border Wall El Paso was now one of the safest cities in nation.

The border wall that Trump referred to as a recent barrier in his State of the Union, was a bipartisan decision made in 2006, during the George W. Bush Administration.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 replaced wired fencing along Tecate and Calexico, California; Douglas, Ariz., Columbus, New Mexico to ten miles east of El Paso, Texas; and Del Rio, Texas to five miles southeast of Eagle Pass, Texas; and 15 miles northwest of Laredo, Texas to Brownsville Texas.

The act also called for ground-sensors, satellites, radar coverage and additional means of technology with the use of more effective personnel along the southern border.

Additionally, El Paso was considered among the safest cities in the nation prior to the implementation of the Secure Fence Act according to FBI crime statistics.

Photos by author & Steve Zimmerman – El Paso Herald Post

Op-Ed: The Trump Snake Oil Wagon Rolls into Town this Monday

The damage is done.

President Trump went and weaponized our city as a political propaganda tool to push his personal “Build my Big, Beautiful Wall” agenda.

He looked America straight in the eye during his State of the Union Address and put us under his dark, manipulative spotlight, telling everybody that El Paso was once one of the most violent crime-ridden cities in America, but immediately after the local border wall was built, we magically transformed into one of the safest.

The president’s reputation for honesty is abysmal, and this whopper is on full rotation in his continuing effort to fulfill his absurd promise to his 35% base to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on a medieval wall straight out of the Dark Ages while ignoring real immigration reform.

Unfortunately, the collateral damage will not stop with his pre-meditated lie repeated on the national and international media stage.

Donald Trump is coming to town and his timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Less than a week after his incendiary, disingenuous and divisive SOTU address, Trump will roll his snake oil wagon into the El Paso Coliseum to sell his dubious elixirs to our city.

And he’s lining up El Pasoans to become salespeople for his xenophobic, fear-mongering, divisive and heartless immigration tactics.

Chants of “Build the wall!  Build the wall!  Build the wall!” will fill the Coliseum on Monday night.

What better city to manipulate as a political tool to push an unpopular wall than one on the border with plenty of anti-immigrant sentiment, a pro-wall mayor and loads of Trump love?

We may be 83% Latino but there is a surprising level of bitterness towards people who arrive at our doors looking for asylum and a better life for their families.  And a lot of this anger comes from this very population.

Yes, we all know that they need to enter legally like our parents and abuelos did but America’s immigration system has degraded to a near-impossible maze of hoops and dollars and years that desperate people have to negotiate in mind-numbing and soul-crushing frustration.

We’ve witnessed firsthand the kind of abusive treatment the Trump administration subjects asylum seekers to right here on the border and yet, rather than deal with these human rights and immigration issues, we demand nothing more than a metaphoric wall that represents our deepest prejudices towards people of color south of our borders.

This Monday will be something of a litmus test for El Paso’s citizens and leaders.

It’s a moment in our history where one of America’s most polarizing and confounding presidents will roll into town, toss a figurative grenade into our midst and make every effort to divide us further in the name of his wall and his 2020 Re-election Tour.

Many will put on their Trump merch, make a holy pilgrimage to the Coliseum and sit at Trump’s feet as he delivers his Monday night sermon.

Many will organize and march with protest signs and rhyming chants fueled by fear and loathing.

Many will sit this one out.

I for one have downloaded my tickets to his rally, I’ll present them at the door, take a seat and watch El Paso history in the making along with several hundred fellow El Pasoans who I have serious disagreements with but are none-the-less my neighbors and fellow human beings.

I gave up on Trump long before he even became president but I’m not ready to give up on those who think in diametric opposition to me just yet.

I hope they feel the same way about me.

Otherwise we’re doomed as a country.

Whatever you do on Monday night, do it with your whole heart.

America will be watching.

Graphic by Jud Burgess

***

Jud Burgess is a local graphic designer, business owner, and blogger who is involved in local activism efforts.  judburgess.com  /  James No Bond on FB

***

The El Paso Herald-Post welcomes guest columns, open letters, letters to the Editor and analysis pieces for publication, to submit a piece or for questions regarding guidelines, please email us at news@epheraldpost.com

Congresswoman Escobar Sends Letter to President, Asking to Correct the Record,Apologize to El Pasoans

On Thursday,  Congresswoman Veronica Escobar sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to correct the record and apologize to El Pasoans for his misleading remarks during the State of the Union address.

Congresswoman Escobar also invited President Trump to tour El Paso and to hear from local stakeholders.

Below is the complete tweet and letter.

 

Opinion: Trump Will Never Come to El Paso

He won’t come. Not because he’s ‘not man enough’ or because he’s ‘chicken’ – as much as the name calling and bravado in this election cycle would fit.  All the petitions, and all the emails won’t get Mr. Trump to our community.

No, The Donald will not set foot anywhere within the Capitol of the Border because it doesn’t fit his narrative of the border he’s designed, hinted at and lied about.

You know, that scary place where the others live: where there is the fear, with all the rapists, the drug dealers, the simultaneously lazy “illegal”who is not working, but taking your benefits while stealing your jobs. You know,  the Mexicans.

I’m sorry to dash your hopes El Paso Republicans: this is flyover country for Mr. Trump, and with good reason. We here in El Paso are living in a future he (and some supporters – it would seem) would like to avoid at all costs.

82% Hispanic. A majority, not the minority-majority, but the straight up majority.  A snapshot of what the good ol’ USA will look like around the year 2076 – our TriCentennial –  maybe sooner.

And the result of that majority? A cartel-run, Thunderdome-esque free-for-all? Mad Max in a Low Rider, with Machete’ set to pounce on anyone who dare question him?

Nope. One of the safest cities in the country. Period.  Except when someone has too much to drink, gets too angry and decides to take a life. And even then, the men and women of our local law enforcement community get their man (or woman.)

Even at the height of the cartel wars in our sister city – set off to see who would control the lucrative drug corridors for the self-medicating Americans – we remained safe, and a haven for those trying to escape the violence.

Like the Rust Belt and most other parts of the country, we here in the Borderland also live in a post-industrial world, and are trying to make it work for all of us.   True, we once provided the cotton and copper for much of the country, the railroad lines bisecting our town brought travelers and goods from all over, and our factories gave the 20th Century the world’s best boots and the pointy-est polyester suits courtesy of Farah and his near mile-long factory.

Now, we shop on the same land that once housed Mr. Farah’s empire; we still produce boots by the mile, but the factories have shrunk. Medical schools and doctor’s offices populate lots where warehouses once stood.  We provide components to our sister city in Juarez and in return get 4 passenger ATV’s, iPads, iPhones and more.

It’s a modern take on the reciprocity our two communities have been perfecting since the 1600’s; Just swap out the rio-grown sugar cane and Cornudas-sourced salt for modern components. We are what the US needs to become in this post-industrial age: innovative, cooperative and specialized.

And speaking of long histories, let’s talk about El Paso and the military.

No, not Fort Bliss, although the post has been key to our success since Texas was admitted into the Union (Twice.)  From the Punitive Expedition right on through our conflicts in the Middle East, Fort Bliss has been on the front lines alongside the many posts and bases across the US and the World.

And some, even after their stint in the military, make El Paso their home, and we are so much the better for their decision.

No, the military I’m talking about is the one where a group of kids from Bowie give their lives in a country they had only read about in class a couple years earlier; or the kid from Tornillo, freezing in a Belgian forest with a box full of grenades and a football field of fuel, told to ‘take care of it’ if/when the Nazis break through the line or the kid from West El Paso who learned to fly choppers, only to be cut down in a far-away land called Vietnam.

There are countless stories, told and untold, all with one thread.

They, and all their fellow soldiers from El Chuco – from the Adams’ to the Zunigas’ – all shared one thing in common: their love for this country, its promise, and their belief that together, fighting for the same cause, they would ultimately ensure the survival of their country for their families.

So El Paso is what Trump doesn’t want the rest of America to know about: Successful, safe and striving to be better, regardless of race, gender or place.  A place where sometimes Mexican flags fly, but the freedom to fly that flag is guaranteed and defended by another.

By no stretch of the imagination is it perfect here, witness our inability to elect some public officials who understand the basic rules of conflict of interest or the lack of knowledge of traffic laws; but we’re working on it.

And that’s what America is: the world’s best, on-going, forward-moving experiment.

There’s no need to Make America Great Again, around here we’ve been chugging along trying to perfect it the whole time – just like our founding fathers wished.  Looking out for each other, helping those who have just come to our country, making them feel welcome and showing them the promise of America.

Some stay, most leave. And they sometimes come back. Same thing with our families.

Is it perfect, no. But that’s the opportunity our founders left us with  – WE the people must all work together to make a more perfect union.

Together. Not one group set above another. Not one group blaming another for their own failures. A group of regular citizens united to made sure the generations unknown to us will have something just a bit better than we have. Something we’re quite familiar with here in our corner of the world.

A corner that Mr. Trump will not visit nor – hopefully – ever govern over.

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