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HIAS Statement on El Paso and Dayton Shootings
Silver Spring, Md.--HIAS is deeply saddened by the mass shootings this weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. All of us at HIAS stand in solidarity with those who are mourning the loss of friends, family, and neighbors.
The gunman in El Paso allegedly used language of the white nationalist movement, including a warning about the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” We see a dangerous connection between political rhetoric based on anti-immigrant sentiment and violence targeting immigrants. The list of shootings motivated by hate of “the other” is long, dispiriting, and worst of all, shows no sign of abating.
In response to the shootings, Mark Hetfield, HIAS’ President and CEO, stated: “Once again, we are pained that such attacks, motivated by hatred and bigotry, are no longer surprising. There is no greater threat to our country than this epidemic of hate and dehumanization of the 'other.' We must hold our leaders and ourselves accountable to step up and speak out against hate wherever and whenever we see it. HIAS is working every day to help people to live in safety and freedom. Welcoming the stranger is a biblical commandment and an American tradition. As a country, we must do more to protect every member of our community from hate and from violence, regardless of where they were born.”