A dozen people gathered outside the Mexican Consulate in Chicago Thursday evening for a vigil to mourn the victims of the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
“Harm against one of us is harm against all of us,” they chanted while holding Mexican flags and candles that the wind kept blowing out.
“We have this vigil to mantain the memory of them and to really denounce local terrorism in the U.S. against the Mexican community,” said Pilsen activist Carlos Arango, who organized the vigil. He said the vigil is the first in a series of events they have planned to fight “attacks against the Mexican community living in this country.”
Guillermo Gomez attended the vigil. For him, the vigil was a call to action.
“We have to go out and demonstrate that we’re angry and we’re not afraid of the hate we’re facing,” Gomez said. “We’re going to organize ourselves and continue coming out and supporting our community.”
Hate appears to have been the motivation for a 21-year old white male who killed 22 people and injured more than two dozen others at a Walmart in El Paso earlier this month.
The shooter later told police he had been targeting Mexicans. He posted racist rants online railing against the influx of Hispanics into the country, the Associated Press reported.
Reyna Torres Mendivil, Mexican consul general in Chicago, joined the protesters outside the consulate for a few minutes Thursday. Following the mass shooting, the Mexican government vowed to take legal action against the United States for failing to protect its Mexican citizens in El Paso.
Media pundits and immigration activists have noted that the shooter’s online manifesto mirrors language President Donald Trump has used when talking about immigration.
The people who attended Thursday’s vigil accused President Trump of fueling hate against Mexicans and other Latino communities.
“What happened in El Paso is a symptom created by a racist, sexist, xenophobic leader of our country. This isn’t about politics, isn’t about red or blue,” said Hilario Dominguez. “It’s about human value.”
María Ines Zamudio is a reporter for WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities desk. Follow her @mizamudio