MONTGOMERY, Ala. — One year ago today, a gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping center after reportedly driving more than nine hours to target Mexican nationals. This deadly attack took the lives of 23 people and injured more than 20 others. Shortly before the shooting, a manifesto appeared online that belonged to the shooter and contained white nationalist talking points and mirrored President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
The Southern Poverty Law Center President and Chief Executive Officer Margaret Huang released the following statement:
“On the one year anniversary of this deadly attack, we honor the memory of the 23 lives lost at the hands of violence committed by someone inspired by extremist ideas. We also recognize the lasting harm to the survivors and the families of the victims, and we urge action by Congress and state governments to prevent attacks like this from ever happening again.
“Our elected officials, social media companies and message boards must assess their ongoing role in the spread of hateful rhetoric and ideas, which can lead to the radicalization of people online. We need everyone to refuse hate and extremism on their platforms and in their public comments to prevent another massacre like the El Paso shooting.
“This tragedy is a stark reminder that elected officials — including President Trump himself — have a duty to stop mainstreaming hate and dividing us with racially-driven rhetoric that inspires violence. As a nation, it’s time for us to come together and rise up against hate. We owe it to those who lost their lives to hate-fueled violence in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Charleston, and so many other cities in our country.”