Among myriad concerns facing Latino voters, gun control might have risen significantly in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“The Latino community was intensely affected by the shooting,” said Jocelyn Sida, Nevada director of Mi Familia Vota, an organization that encourages Latinos to become more civically engaged. “It’s definitely going to be in a lot of conversations at the dinner table from now until (for) a while. We’re not going to forget this for the rest of our lives.”
According to reports, nearly 40 of the victims who were killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando appeared to have Hispanic names. That fact alone, Sida believes, puts gun control front and center on the list of issues Latinos across Nevada consider important, joining immigration reform, education and healthcare affordability.
“Now more than ever, just in general, if you have your kids anywhere, in any part of the country, the fact that they could be affected by gun violence is a big deal,” Sida said.
The shooting, which took 49 lives, occurred during Latin Night at the club.
“Obviously, this is a hate crime and an act of terror,” said Desire Galvez, community outreach chair for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) at UNLV. ‘It’s a hard blow for the LGTBQ and Latinx (Latino) community.”
Galvez said while members of the Hispanic community have not been targeted in the form of a mass shooting in Southern Nevada, she believes they’re lives and bodies are always at risk, “being under a government that obviously doesn’t want a lot of us here.”
“Being undocumented, the discrimination we receive for the color of our skin, living in poverty, the lack of resources — the more you add on these minoritized identities, adds on to how much we have to face every single day,” Galvez said. “We’re not dying from mass shootings, but we’re dying from a lack of attention we receive, and the discrimination we face because of who we are.”
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