Sac State’s Brown Issues honors victims of El Paso shooting

The Capitol event celebrated Latinx culture


Kendra L. Rivera

President of Sac State’s Baile Folklorico Roxana Javier dances with member Mario Mendez Lopez at the California State Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Sac State’s Brown Issues organization gathered members of the community to honor the lives lost in the Aug. 3 El Paso shooting.

Kendra Rivera-Molina

Sacramento State’s Brown Issues organization honored the lives lost in the Aug. 3 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and celebrated Latinx culture at a California State Capitol event on Tuesday.

Kimberly Gudino, college ambassador for Brown Issues, and Alma Lopez, statewide coordinator for Brown Issues, started the event with a cheerful, “Are you excited?” as they thanked all the organizations that came to support. 

During Gudino’s introduction, the California Center for Civic Participation passed out informational cards about how to protect one’s constitutional rights. 

“We want to make sure we are organizing events that align with our fundamental pillars — pursuing higher education, resisting patriarchy and ending genocidal practices,” said Gudino about the shooting. 

In early August, 20 people died and 26 were injured when Patrick Crusius opened fire at a Walmart and the surrounding shopping center in El Paso, Texas. Federal investigators treated the case as domestic terrorism. 

Emotionally, Lopez and Gudino gathered folks at the event to repeat with them the names of the people lost and hurt from the attack.  

“We can’t continue to hide in the shadows,” Lopez said. 

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“Everything that’s being mentioned at the national level is increasing the hate crime that is happening here,” Lopez said. 

The shooter’s anti-immigrant manifesto made statements like, “this attack is a response to the Hispanic Invasion of Texas.” 

Despite this, Brown Issues aimed to focus on the pride of Latinx people. 

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The evening included performances, stencil artists and a taco truck. Salsa and traditional Mexican folk dancing were performed in dedication to the lives lost.

“Of course there’d be another shooting,” said dancer Mario Lopez Mendez, a Sac State senior.  “It’s clear that we’re a nation of immigrants that aren’t wanted anymore.”

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“It’s hard to put into words the feelings I have for someone who could take lives so desperately,” Mendez said. “How can someone be so evil?”

Lopez led a unity circle to conclude the memorial. 

“Everything that is coming down against us, we need to let the nation understand that we are going to resist, persist, and not desist,” Lopez said.

She then locked arms with members of the crowd and others followed. Repeating after her, they recited the words of Assata Shakur saying:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” 

The evening then ended with loud claps and cheers to celebrate the lives of the Latinx community.

Nigel Rayyan contributed to this report.