Friday, September 20, 2019

More than 150 influential Latinos pen “letter of solidarity” amid rising fears in the Latino community

Actresses America Ferrera and Eva Longoria are leading a group of more than 150 writers, artists and leaders who have written a public “letter of solidarity” to U.S. Latinos after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, andĀ an immigration raid in Mississippi.

The letter, published Friday in The New York Times and in a handful of Spanish-language newspapers, says the signers stand with U.S. Latinos who may feel “terrified, heartbroken and defeated by the barrage of attacks,” citing the shooting in El Paso, which targeted Latinos and another shooting in Gilroy, California. The two attacks killed nearly two dozen Latinos.

A huge immigration raid of Mississippi poultry plantsĀ this month that rounded up 680 mostly Latino workers, leaving behind crying children searching for their detained parents, also has unnerved some Latinos. “We have been smeared by political rhetoric and murdered in violent hate crimes. We have been separated from our families and have watched our children caged,” the letter said. “But, we will not be broken. We will not be silenced.”

The letter says such “indignities and cruelty” won’t diminish the contributions Latinos have made to the U.S., and it urged Latinos to keep standing up to bigotry. Signing the letter were some of the most important Latino figures in entertainment, art, literature and activism, including novelist Sandra Cisneros, Academy Award-winning actress Rita Moreno, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, singer-actress Jennifer Lopez and Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Longoria told The Associated Press that she and Ferrera got the idea for the letter after they talked and found out they were both depressed and sad after the El Paso shooting. “Once we started talking to other people, we found out others were feeling the same way,” Longoria said, “Instead of us all suffering alone we wanted to unite and tell our community that is going through all of this … we are with you and we will fight for you.”

Longoria said the letter is not meant to take political sides but to reach out to Americans regardless of party to say Latinos are hurting. Ferrera told The AP that Latinos have been subjected to a number of racist attacks recently, but the El Paso shooting and the Mississippi raid were “just soul-crushing” for some.

USA TODAY