DNC on Anniversary of El Paso and Dayton Shootings

DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement on the first anniversary of the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which targeted Latinos and took the lives of 23 people, as well as the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, a few hours later, which took nine lives:

“One year ago, our nation witnessed the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history. 23 people were killed by a single gunman. 23 lives taken by the same hate and bigotry we see fomented by this White House against Latinos nearly every day. This was no coincidence, nor was it the end of the carnage that weekend.

“Just a few hours later, across the country in Dayton, Ohio, another nine people were murdered in cold blood. 26 people were shot in 32 seconds.

“On this anniversary we remember not only the horror of that day, but the heroism of those who faced it. In Texas, we remember people like Jordan and Andre Anchondo, who died shielding their two-month-old son from gunfire; Arturo Benavides, a U.S. Army veteran who served his country with honor; Jorge Calvillo García, who gave his life to protect his granddaughter and her soccer teammates from the bullets. In Ohio, we remember people like Lois Oglesby, a mother of two who worked at a day care center, and Nicholas Cumer, who had decided to devote his young life to helping cancer patients.

“Their courage was American to its core. But tragically, so was the nature of their death. Only in America do we continue to let our communities be shattered by gun violence. Only in America do we let our schools and stores and streets turn into battlefields – again and again and again – despite every power we have to stop it.

“Those we lost a year ago were not simply victims of gun violence. They were casualties of the cowardice displayed by this president and Republicans in Congress – who would rather bow to the NRA than be stewards of Americans’ safety. Time and again, Donald Trump and Republican leaders have blocked any attempt to protect the American people.

“Republican lawmakers act as if these shootings are just a fact of everyday life, as if there’s nothing we could have done to stop this one and nothing we can do to prevent the next one. They send thoughts and prayers while accepting millions from the NRA to stay silent about every atrocity and stand in the way of even the smallest and most sensible reforms.

“But the heartbreak we feel today is not inevitable. It is the price of inaction. It is the cost of failed leadership. Now more than ever, we need leaders like Joe Biden who are determined to enact sensible gun safety laws and end our nation’s epidemic gun violence once and for all.

“While we cannot be together in person to comfort each other and commemorate the lives we lost, we can still do justice for their families. We can do justice for their communities. We can turn our anguish into action and end gun violence together. We know that activism is the best antidote to despair, and we will vote out anyone who stands in our way.”