Last year on Saturday, August 3, 2019, I was vacationing in the quaint town of Hood River, OR.
Imagine the emotions when hearing the shocking news that your next-door neighbor’s parents had been assaulted by a White Supremacist? Hearing that her father was murdered and her mother critically injured brought unbidden grief next door.
Today, I’m sharing Meg’s journey with you.
Remembering August 3
by Meg Juarez,
Community Safety Program Supervisor for Civic Life
As the day approaches, I think to myself, “Wow, it’s been a year and I’m still in shock, unable in so many ways to process the immense pain and loss.”
August 3rd, 2020 marks the first anniversary after the tragic racist terrorist attack at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. A white supremacist shot and murdered 23 people and injured many others.
My father was the oldest among those who lost their lives, and at 90 years old was vibrant and healthy. My 88-year-old mother was shot and is still recovering after numerous surgeries and weeks in the ICU.
The entire El Paso community was shaken to its core. There are so many stories. Stories of love, resilience, sorrow, and trauma. All these stories matter. Together they tell a bigger story and paint a collage. One about the reality that immigrants, Native nations, and people of color have experienced in this country for generations.
The stories of love and resilience are mostly about communities coming together to help one another heal in the aftermath of terror and violence fueled by white supremacy. Also, about how so many immigrants and refugees have come to this county, worked hard, struggled, persevered, and contributed to making this country great, within a complex history of settling Native lands.
Communities have the power to heal when they are connected and see each other as human beings who are interdependent.
I will forever be grateful for how my community came together, embraced me and my family, and was present to help in any way they could. In my Portland neighborhood, friends and neighbors organized fundraisers in collaboration with some of our local neighborhood businesses—donating time, food, and services.
They hosted gatherings for people to come together, as the community was shocked by the horror of the events and how now they had a connection to someone who was directly impacted—the degrees of separation getting smaller.
The love and caring that my community showed me and my family, whether it was providing food or companionship, or watering my plants while I was in Texas helping care for my mother; it all meant so very much in the aftermath of such trauma.
My work community at the City of Portland too was so supportive. I will forever be grateful for the support of all my colleagues. To all those who donated leave time, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Resilience is something that my parents embodied as immigrants in this country. My cousin, who spoke at my father’s funeral, said it well, “My Tio (uncle) made this country great!”
He recounted how my father immigrated to the United States from Mexico, worked hard for the railroad, ultimately became a very skilled and talented welder/ironworker, made this place his home with his family, and raised his kids. Yes, he made America great, like so many immigrants have done.
Thank you for allowing me to share this story with you.
Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,