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NAME statement on El Paso & Dayton shootings

The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) knows the emptiness that many people and likeminded social justice organizations now feel in the aftermath of the back-to-back, weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. There is the empty feeling of loss for the 22 lives taken and two dozen injured on Aug. 3 at the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall in the Texas border town after a 21-year-old gunman opened fire on people doing back-to-school shopping for their children. Adding to the void only hours later on Aug. 4 were the shooting deaths of nine people and injuries to many others when a 24-year-old gunman opened fire in a popular nightlife district of downtown Dayton. Police fatally shot him within 30 seconds but not before he fired 41 shots from a .223-caliber, high-capacity rifle with 100-round drum magazines. Police in El Paso took the gunman there into custody.

Both shooters were white men in their 20s — each picking up the hatred for others that President Donald Trump often amplifies. The El Paso shooter used anti-immigrant language in a manifesto that mirrors Trump’s often inflammatory language. The Dayton shooter had been suspended from high school for compiling a “hit list” of persons he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault. The nationwide emptiness includes the president’s total lack of accountability and unwillingness to acknowledge how the hate for immigrants, women and others that he inspires is responsible for the senseless loss of life.

NAME also knows that the emptiness people feel is from the vacuous rhetoric that follows recurring mass shootings in the United States. Speeches are delivered, statements are made, prayer vigils occur and memorials spring up, yet nothing concrete ever happens to protect the people. Meanwhile, the chasm of fear and insecurity grows because no one in the country feels safe from the epidemic of gun violence. Americans shouldn’t feel forced to accept this as being normal when no other country in the world does.

As it has done after other mass shootings, NAME renews its call for state and national lawmakers to institute sensible and enforceable gun laws. That includes banning automatic and semi-automatic firearms and accessories. Lawmakers also need to turn down political contributions from the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers and pass other legislation that truly protects the safety of the people in their districts and beyond.

NAME urges the president to end his anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-other hate-speak. Schools, the news media and all political leadership must promote a greater acceptance of all people and create more opportunities to learn from each other so that everyone is valued. This growing multicultural, multiethnic nation cannot afford gun violence or the fear that millions of firearms in this country generate. NAME urges PK-20 schools and educators to include anti-bias principles in their curriculum. NAME is committed to moving this multicultural, anti-oppressive work forward so that the emptiness may begin to be filled with peace and a joy for all.

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