‘Solidarity and community, not migrant bashing’

August 13, 2019

Statement on the El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy shootings by FIRE (Fight for Im/migrants and Refugees Everywhere).

FIRE expresses its solidarity and condolences to the victims, families and communities of the heinous mass shootings that took place in this country during one week alone.

What are the causes of these actions? What can be done to prevent yet another mass shooting?

The main contribution to the upswing in violence is the blatant racist rhetoric emanating from the White House. President Trump and his administration send messages that migrants are “criminals” and “rapists” “invading” the U.S. These lies embolden a fear and hatred of people of color that white men in particular, like the El Paso shooter, have been spewing in white nationalist forums online.

The media are starting to call the violence in El Paso for what it is: white supremacy. But the history and depth of that violence are ignored. Long before the current administration amped up the war on migrants, this land saw the violent removal of Indigenous people before the U.S. was colonized.

Then came the horrors of the slavery of African people and the robbery of Mexico. Armed militias have acted with impunity. When the media say, “This is not who we are,” it’s just, well, not true.

The acts of the Border Patrol and the police are also white supremacist violence. When law enforcement swarmed the scene in El Paso after the shooting, many could not seek professional help for fear they might get detained or deported.

White nationalist rhetoric is at the heart of the Gilroy and El Paso shootings. In Dayton, where nine died and 27 were injured, the murderer had a history of violently misogynist rhetoric. Rather than spending money militarizing the police and the border, money should be spent on health care and education.

The answer to these shootings is not gun control but community control.

FIRE demands:

  1. End the scapegoating of migrants. End forced migration by dealing with the root causes of migration. Reparations for victims of the climate crisis; end U.S. intervention everywhere; end violence against women and gender-oppressed peoples.
  2. Migration is a human right, not a crime. Stop criminalizing workers. Solidarity with all workers.
  3. Community control, not gun control. We cannot depend on the police or Immigration and Customs Enforcement to solve our problems. Police have killed too many Black, Brown and LGBTQ2S people with impunity and cannot be relied upon. Gun control won’t create the community needed to stop individual acts of terror.
  4. Organize our communities. Let’s go door-to-door, block-to-block. Demand people before profits, and build community that prevents the alienation that leads to individual acts of violence.
  5. Solidarity and community among us all: U.S. or foreign born; Black, Brown, white; LGBTQ2S or straight; young and old. That is the solution to white supremacy.

To get involved with FIRE, visit fightformigrants.org.