FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 3, 2022
CONTACT: Christine Bolaños, [email protected], (512) 767-2978
JOLT REMEMBERS VICTIMS OF DEADLIEST ATTACK AGAINST LATINOS, HOLDS LAWMAKERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC
Jolt Action stands in solidarity with the community of El Paso today, as it comes together to honor and remember the victims of the August 3, 2019, mass shooting at Walmart which claimed the lives of 23 people and injured 23 others. The vast majority of the victims and survivors were Latino, and the massacre is now considered the deadliest attack against Latinos in modern history.
The third anniversary of this American tragedy comes after 19 children and two teachers were gunned down at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24, 2022, which is now considered the deadliest public school shooting in Texas history. Like El Paso, the Uvalde community is predominantly working class, immigrant, and Latino.
At Jolt, we recognize that the Latino community is especially vulnerable to gun violence and for far too long, our lawmakers have done little to address this epidemic. To stop more tragedies like the El Paso and Uvalde shootings, Texas needs to expand accessible mental health resources to rural areas where transportation and cost can hinder residents from getting help, and lawmakers needs to pass common sense gun laws that enforce comprehensive background checks and remove the ability of civilians to purchase assault rifles.
“More than 4,100 Latinos die from gun violence in the United States every year. Losing even one life to this epidemic is tragic, but to lose 4,100 a year is unfathomable,” said Christine Bolaños, Communications Director at Jolt Action. “Since the Uvalde massacre, US lawmakers have increased the federal age requirement to own weapons, but here in Texas, there is little progress. We’ve seen an increase in background checks for gun purchasers but this isn’t a state mandate. This is a good faith practice on the part of gun shop owners. Our children deserve better from their elected officials.
“Every Latino, every Texan, every American should have the right to go to the grocery store, to church and to school without fear of losing their lives,” she said. “No child should have to watch their peers get shot to death right in front of their eyes. No parent should have to wonder if their child will make it back home safely after dropping them off at school.”
Jolt strongly believes that children deserve to live out their childhoods free from the fears of gun violence. We believe that addressing gun violence should be a focal point for the 2023 Texas Legislative session and that Texas constituents should voice their concerns through the power of their vote and voice this upcoming November election. Texas Senate Democrats have called for a special session again on gun safety in response to Uvalde, but Governor Greg Abbott has yet to call a special session on gun reform.
Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is the lead Republican negotiator on bipartisan talks regarding gun reform, was booed off stage during the Texas Republican State Convention. The Texas Legislature goes back into session in January 2023 and lawmakers are putting pressure on Abbott to call a special session before then. Abbott — who blames the Uvalde tragedy on mental health even though the perpetrator is not known to have suffered from mental illness — is up for re-election this November.
“Our lawmakers are failing our children,” Bolaños said. “Ordinary Texans have the power to hold our elected officials accountable to our children through the power of their vote. Get your abuelo, your tia, your neighbor to the polls so we can make a resounding and collective statement that we will not stand for any more bloodshed. Texans deserve better.”
For media inquiries or to arrange an interview, contact our Communications Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT JOLT ACTION
Founded in 2016, Jolt Action is a progressive civic engagement organization focused on building the political power and influence of young Latinos in Texas.