New York, NY — Four years ago, on this exact day, a gunman used an assault weapon to kill 23 people and injure 22 others at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Let’s be clear: the shooter was a white supremacist who posted an anti-immigrant manifesto before going on his rampage, one of the deadliest attacks on Latinos in modern American history. It was a sickening attack, and today and every day, we honor those lost and fight on in their honor.
Since then, we’ve seen similar nods to the shooter’s racist ideology from other mass shooters, including the shooting in Buffalo last year at the Tops Supermarket and at a mall in Allen, TX, earlier this year. This isn’t a coincidence. Virulent racism fuels violence, and easy access to firearms makes it much easier—and deadlier—for white supremacists to commit hate crimes. Fighting against gun violence and racism are inseparable.
Our leaders must work earnestly to eradicate the violence of white supremacy wherever it springs its ugly head. And yet, still today, far too many leaders parrot racist dog whistles and talking points, emboldening violently hateful people and causing real harm. Today, we joined over 160 other organizations across the country to call on Congress to condemn white supremacy and anti-immigrant rhetoric and weed it out from the halls of power.
As we remember the horrific attack in El Paso and the deadly violence associated with the conspiratorial rhetoric of “replacement” and “invasion,” we are once again urging our elected leaders to refrain from using this dangerous language. It’s time for leaders in Congress to stop using this language and instead call out white supremacy and recognize it as one of the leading causes of gun violence in our country.