Actresses America Ferrera and Eva Longoria are leading a group of over 200 Latinx writers , artists, and leaders who have written a public “ letter of solidarity ” to U.S. Latinos after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and an immigration raid in Mississippi .
The letter, titled “ Querida Familia Latina ,” published on Friday, August 16th in The New York Times and the Spanish-language newspapers El Diario, El Nuevo Herald and La Opinión , says the signers stand with U.S. Latinos who may feel “ terrified, heartbroken and defeated by the barrage of attacks ,” citing the shooting in El Paso, which targeted Hispanics, and another shooting in Gilroy, California. The two attacks killed nearly two dozen Latinos.
A huge immigration raid of Mississippi poultry plants this month that rounded up 680 mostly Latino workers , leaving behind crying children searching for their detained parents, also has unnerved some Hispanics.
“We have been smeared by political rhetoric and murdered in violent hate crimes . We have been separated from our families and have watched our children caged, ” the letter said. “But, we will not be broken . We will not be silenced .”
The letter says such “ indignities and cruelty ” won’t diminish the contributions Latinos have made to the U.S., and it urged Hispanics to keep standing up to bigotry.
Signing the letter were some of the most important Latino figures in entertainment, art, literature, and activism , including novelist Sandra Cisneros , Academy Award-winning actress Rita Moreno , civil rights leader Dolores Huerta , singer-actress Jennifer Lopez and Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda .
The violence has some Hispanics looking over their shoulders, avoiding speaking Spanish in public, and seeking out escape routes amid fears they could be next.
The shootings and the raid come against a backdrop of racist episodes that include then-candidate Donald Trump referring to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” ; Trump, as president, referring to migrants coming to the U.S. as “an invasion” ; and viral videos of white people chastising Hispanics for speaking Spanish in public.
Longoria told The Associated Press that she and Ferrera got the idea for the letter after they talked and found out they were both depressed and sad after the El Paso shooting.
“Once we started talking to other people, we found out others were feeling the same way,” Longoria said. “Instead of us all suffering alone we wanted to unite and tell our community that is going through all of this … we are with you and we will fight for you .”
Longoria said the letter is not meant to take political sides but to reach out to Americans regardless of party to say Latinos are hurting .
, a civil rights lawyer and activist who helped organize the letter, called it a “ letter of love ” and hopes it changes some hearts.
“We also wanted to make sure that people understand that our community is powerful and we have many allies ,” Ramírez said. “ We don’t want other groups to be targeted .”
Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Diego Luna, Karla Souza, Lydia Cacho, Laura Esquivel, Ricky Martin, Demián Bichir, Gina Torres, Adriana Barraza, Becky G, Carla Morrison, Cecilia Suárez, Kate del Castillo, and Zoe Saldana, and many others are among the o ver 200 Latinx leaders who signed the letter.
You can become an ally , too, by signing on the official website of Querida Familia .