Hispanic Acadians Hurting After Mass Shootings

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LAFAYETTE, LA — The victims of two mass shootings remembered Tuesday evening in Lafayette.

Even though both El Paso and Dayton are close to 1,000 miles away, the impact is being felt by Acadiana.

“We’re really hurting right now. The Hispanic community”, said Maria Jimenez. Her world stood still Saturday.

“We contacted everyone…It was just a panic”

-Maria Jimenez, lives in Opelousas

She moved from Dallas recently and still has family who lives near the shooting.
Even though they’re safe, they don’t feel as safe anymore.

“They were just going through their normal life routines, going to Walmart. Shopping for their supplies and to have that happen that’s scary”, says Cynthia Rodriguez. “Now I feel like I can’t go anywhere”.

Rodriguez lives in lafayette. She knows, “It can happen anywhere”.

These two mass shootings remind her of four years ago when a man shot eleven people killing two in Lafayette’s Grand 16 Movie Theater before turning the gun on himself.

Rodriguez remembers it vividly, “The day before that happened, I went to the movies. That could have been me”.

El Paso’s mass shooting has a different feeling.

“We are Latino. We are a family. We all need to support each other”.

-Gabriela Rio Hernandez, Asociación Cultural Latino-Acadiana

The cathedral of St. John the Evangelist invited all faiths and backgrounds to a mass of remembrance Tuesday evening. About a hundred people trickled in, many of them relating to the El Paso shooting since they have family nearby.

“We cannot panic”, warns Gabriela Rio Hernandez with the Asociación Cultural Latino-Acadiana “We need to keep our lives, and we need to praying for that people to stop being aggressive and hate.”

“The white supremacists say that the Hispanic community is vulgar and evil, but we’re really not,” says Jimenez. “It’s just a bunch of children. Innocent people that died that day”.

The women say it’s important to teach your children the values of support of love because so much of what we believe starts in the home.

St. John’s Cathedral director of Evangelism Adam Conque says praying for the victims is a matter of justice and that he wanted tonight’s remembrance mass to provide hope to people in these tragic times.

“Keep praying for those victims and for the people who did it because they deserve prayers too”.

-Gabriela Rio Hernandez, Asociación Cultural Latino-Acadiana

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