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Congresswoman Veronica Escobar Remarks During Press Conference with El Paso Elected Officials and Community and Faith Leaders in Response to Domestic Terrorism Investigation

Washington, DC, August 4, 2019

"We are taking a moment from the time we’ve been spending with families and the community of El Paso to make a statement about the decision announced earlier today by United States Attorney John Bash, who confirmed that the Department of Justice would be investigating the massacre in our community as domestic terrorism.

But before we do that, we must make some acknowledgements.

First, we again recognize the valor and quick response by local, state and federal law enforcement, our firefighters, ambulance services, as well as the incredible work of the doctors, nurses, techs, and all healthcare professionals in our community. Our first responders saved more lives than we even understand.

Second, we thank the heroes — the women and men who aren’t with law enforcement, but who are civilians who jumped in to save children, the elderly, and many others who benefitted from their courage in those terrifying moments. There’s no doubt that we will be hearing countless stories of heroism by every day El Pasoans in the days and weeks to come.

And finally, we thank the community. In El Paso, everyone is family. And when family needs you, we are there.

El Pasoans, from the moment we learned of the horrific events, we have opened up their hearts and wrapped their arms around those in pain and suffering. 

Yesterday, today, tomorrow and the weeks and months to come will be no different.

We encourage those who can make donations to visit the El Paso Community Foundation or Paso del Norte Community Foundation webpages, where they have established victims relief funds. They are coordinating the financial support we’d all like to provide to families who have lost loved ones, and families whose loved ones are recovering. 

El Paso is resilient and strong, and as long as there is someone in need, we will be there.  Nothing will or can change that.

But we would be remiss if we did not address the determination by the Department of Justice. 

We are heartened that this has been recognized for what it is: a racially-motivated terrorist attack on our safe and tranquil community.

The shooter came into our community because we are a Hispanic community and because we have immigrants in our community. He came here to harm us.

The Department of Justice and local law enforcement have identified this as being motivated by hate.

And it is this hate that is at the root of much suffering in our country. There are deadly consequences to bigotry, racism and hate. There are deadly consequences to dehumanizing our fellow human beings.

Domestic terrorism is one of those deadly consequences, and we stand together in calling for our federal government to hear the alarm sounded by federal law enforcement about “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists.”

To immediately instruct federal agencies and law enforcement to draft a national plan to deal with white supremacy and domestic terrorism as a national crisis.

And support legislation and funding that would deal with the national emergency that we face with both the gun violence epidemic as well as the hate epidemic plaguing our country.

El Paso is an incredible community — we have been safe for decades. Historically, El Paso has led the nation in its desegregation and integration efforts; and during moments of crisis, we’ve demonstrated to the country how we treat strangers and the most vulnerable in our midst.  We will continue to do this because we have chosen to face challenges with decency, strength and love.   

We will continue to celebrate our diversity, and come together in unity, especially during times of strife. We will persevere.

And we have a request of our fellow Americans. If we are to honor all of fallen, the survivors, their families and their communities in El Paso, Ohio and across the country, we can only do that by treating one another — everyone — with dignity and kindness. El Pasoans are doing that - we have done that - and we ask everyone to join us."


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