Dear El Paso,
I miss you.
El Paso is home, and no matter how much I love the things I have seen and the places I have been since I left it. There is no replacing the love I have for my city. I close my eyes sometimes just to imagine myself there; I can almost feel the hot desert air on my skin and see a beautiful orange hue melting into the mountains as the sun sets, and the smiles of the people that helped shape who I am today. I love that I grew up in a place where you can mix Spanish and English in conversation with strangers, and you can get menudo and a vegan burger in the same restaurant. El Paso is my safe haven and there is truly no place like it.
That is why on August 3rd 2019, my heart shattered when I saw my home get attacked by a white supremacist terrorist. That day I watched the news alone, thousands of miles away from my home and all I wanted to do was run to El Paso and hold all my loved ones in my arms. To hear the news mention El Paso over and over again and talk about it like every single other place where such tragedies have occurred was the most painful thing, because I knew that like every other shooting, all we would get was “thoughts and prayers,” and then everyone would move on to the next thing.
But how could I move on when a huge part of who I am had been poisoned by a man who drove 11 hours just to kill my people? A man whose racist ideology fueled by today’s politics drove across the state to target Mexicans. What’s even more terrifying is that this could happen to any Latinx community across the country. The type of community pain this attack has created is very difficult for me to compartmentalize. It’s a pain that will stay with us, a pain that we will never forget, a pain that unites us and although there’s a sense of calmness that comes with our unity, there are also waves of anger and frustration to the system that continues to kick our people down. I keep asking when will change happen, when will enough truly be enough? But that question just keeps getting longer and the answer farther away…and quite frankly I’m tired of asking it.
I’m not sure how long it will take for us to heal these wounds but I do know that to heal after all the violence and pain we have endured in our community is a revolutionary act. Because as we heal we will demand change, as we heal we will break systemic barriers, as we heal we will fight for liberation against the relentless attacks on our people.
Dear El Paso,
I will heal with you.