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El Paso joins for a night of healing and denouncing white supremacy

Carolina Alvarez
Cuco sings at “El Paso Firme” music festival Saturday Sept. 7, 2019.

Artists from Guatemala, Mexico and Southern California performed at El Paso Firme Music Fest Saturday at Ascarate Park for a day of healing and celebration organized by the Border Network for Human Rights and other local and state immigrant advocacy organizations.   

The gathering was a call to action against white supremacy and the ideologies that allegedly inspired one of the deadliest hate crimes against Latinos in recent U.S. history just over a month ago in El Paso 

More than 175 people have been killed in attacks linked to white nationalism around the world since 2011, according to The Guardian 

Many of the mainlwhite men who are allegedly responsible for these violent acts have used the same rhetoric, referring to immigrants as “invaders” and an “infestation, similar to the way President Donald J. Trump has referred to immigrants as an “invasion in a tweet. 


The event began with a march in El Segundo Barrio from Centro de Trabajadores Agricolas to Sacred Heart Church in the morning before arriving at Ascarate ParkUnder the shadow of the border wall, world-renowned artists lent their voices and talents to El Paso and its people 

Lalo Alcaraza political cartoonist whose work can be seen in Nickelodeon’s upcoming animated show The Casagrandes and in Disney and Pixar’s film, Coco.  

Alcaraz handed out prints of his work in exchange for donations to the National Day Laborers Organizing Network throughout the evening as a steady stream of fans stood in line for autographs and photos with him. 
The Chicano artist, who grew up on the border of San Diego and Tijuana, felt a connection to El Paso because he understands the border community.  

“It was important for me to be involved in something like this because, this thing that happened here in El Paso a month ago touched everybody,” Alcaraz said. “We all have felt like we’re being targeted, and this was the bringing to fruition of all the hate that Trump and Republicans are enabling. We need to stand up and say Ya basta, that’s it. We’re not going to take any more abuse, we’re not going to take any more so called ‘war against us,’ we’re not going anywhere.” 

Alcaraz call to action resonated strongly with students in the audience, many who will be eligible to vote for the first time in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Brittany Medellín, a student at EPCC, felt the need to attend the event in order to show solidarity with the victims families, to continue to fight for them and support them.  

“We don’t talk about white supremacy being the cause and I think it’s important that we recognize who (the gunman’s) being influenced by and that it is actually killing people,” Medellín said. “It’s killing people here, our neighbors, our family. We need to be conscious of it and protect ourselves in whatever way we can and fight for a change.” 

UTEP student Sabrina Bustillos went to the event as part of Texas Rising UTEP campus coalition, a non-partisan organization aimed at registering and politically educating the young people of Texas.  

“I would say UTEP students in general get left out from a lot of city-wide conversations and activism. It’s important that we’re out here representing that community because we are a part of this bigger community,” Bustillos said. “At the end of the day this rally isn’t intended to be political, people who think that white supremacy is this democratic ploy and agenda are really misinformed. That’s our whole mission, to educate as many people as we can on common issues such as this.” 

“Black Klansman” author Ron Stallworth took to the stage to recount some of what he learned during his undercover work infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs. Other notable appearances include La Santa Cecilia, rising Mexican-American artist Cuco and Rebeca Lane, a hip-hop artist from Guatemala.  

“There is a war in Guatemala that was started by the United States years ago against our people,” Lane told the crowd. “It was that violence that led to many of the people in our country to migrate to the United States. The least thing that a government that is responsible for migration can do is to treat immigrants with fairness and human dignity.” 

Families and survivors of the El Paso massacre spoke lastrecounting the horror that befell them, before Cuco took to the stage to close the evening.   

Rebecca Reza may be reached at [email protected] 

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El Paso joins for a night of healing and denouncing white supremacy