More than 100 civil rights groups rallied outside the White House Tuesday to unequivocally state that white supremacy, easy access to guns, and indifference from policymakers about both were to blame for the massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend.
Gun control and racial justice advocates assembled in the nation’s capital for the #WhiteSupremacyKills demonstration, chanting, “Vote them out!” and “Hey hey! Ho ho! White supremacy’s got to go!”
The protest came as President Donald Trump downplayed his role in the rise of white nationalism and other Republicans pointed fingers at video games, LGBTQ people, and the mental healthcare system as the root causes of the shootings.
The El Paso shooting was the largest hate-based, gun-related massacre of Latino people in modern U.S. history, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said in a statement.
Three days after 22 people were shot in the largely Latino city by a gunman who had denounced the so-called “invasion” of Latin American immigrants, demonstrators carried signs that said in both Spanish and English, “Be on the right side of history. Unite against white supremacy.”
“The tragedies of this past weekend represent a confluence of two dangerous forces: the rise of white supremacist terror and our federal government’s inaction on commonsense gun safety,” said the groups, including Voto Latino, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and MoveOn.org, in a joint statement.
“When the president and his enablers routinely denigrate and dehumanize certain communities, he gives permission to white supremacists to commit horrific violence—violence that is at a level unprecedented in more than 20 years,” the statement continued. “None of this is acceptable. None of this is normal.”
The rally came a day after Trump claimed he aims to “condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy” while failing to acknowledge his own encouragement of the ideologies. In a manifesto, the man accused of killing 22 people in El Paso echoed language Trump has used in his attacks on immigration, saying the shooting was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The president repeatedly called the arrival of Latin American immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border an “invasion” last year.
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