Payton Gendron is charged with killing 10 people and wounding three in a hate-fueled shooting earlier this month. He created a private chat room on the Discord app and invited people to view his chat logs before unleashing his violent attack at the store. He traveled 200 miles to the store and live-streamed the attack. Before the attack, Gendon posted he wanted to shoot Black people.

11 of the 13 people shot while shopping were Black. Among those killed was a former police officer who tried to stop the shooter, a teacher, a taxi driver and other shoppers. They were ages 32 to 86.

The Justice Department is investigating the shooting as a hate crime and “an act of racially-motivated violent extremism.”

This case is horribly similar to the El Paso Walmart mass shooting in August 2019.

The El Paso killer, Patrick Crusius, 21, also was driven by hatred and white supremacy. He drove hundreds of miles to the Walmart to shoot and kill 23 people at the store. He falsely claimed there was an Hispanic invasion of Texas, echoing anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant rhetoric by Donald Trump. Crusius was charged on 90 counts of federal hate crimes.

Gendron also was driven by hate, scrawling a racist slur on his weapon. He referred to replacement theory, an extreme-right belief that the white population is at risk of being replaced by people of color and immigrants. This theory also has been repeated by some Republicans and on Fox News.

We have to stand up to all hate particularly against the Latino, Black, Asian American and LGBTQ  communities.

We can’t tolerate another Buffalo, or El Paso, or Orlando or Charleston.

Hate crimes against Latinos have been on the rise often fueled by anti-immigrant fallacies.

In 2020, there were 517 anti-Latino hate crime incidents, 527 cases in 2019; 485 in 2018; and 427 in 2017, according to FBI data.

We can’t forget the 49 people killed and 53 wounded in June 2016 at Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando, Florida. Most of the victims were Latino and it also is considered the deadliest attack against the LGBTQ community.

Hate against Asian Americans is not abating. Hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by 339% last year compared with 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

A shooting at an Orange County, California church last week left one dead and five injured. The shooter targeted a Taiwanese congregation. Authorities said it may be a “politically motivated hate incident.”

In March 2020, the FBI issued a report predicting a surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans. This is due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and also the political rhetoric, also by Trump, of blaming China.

About a third of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities have been targeted with bomb threats so far in 2022, according to the F.B.I.

The FBI relies on voluntary reporting of hate crimes from law enforcement agencies around the country, so the actual numbers may be greater.

Only 17% of hate crime suspects investigated by U.S. attorneys were prosecuted from 2005 to 2019, according to a U.S. Justice Department report last year.

Last May, President Biden signed anti-hate crime legislation to respond to the surge of attacks on Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Biden also condemned the Buffalo mass shooting as a “racist rampage” and an act of “domestic terrorism.” The president called on Americans to reject the racist theory that motivated the gunman to carry out the massacre.

“White supremacy is a poison running through our body politic. And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes,” Biden said. 

We need even stronger legislation and improved reporting nationwide. California has one of the most comprehensive hate crime laws that covers race, religion, ethnicity/ national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Most states have hate crime laws but the reporting is weak. There is no uniformity across the states on what defines a hate crime. Nationally, more than 80% of nearly 15,000 local law enforcement agencies didn’t report a single hate crime to the FBI, according to a Politico analysis.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 222-203 on Wednesday to pass a bill aimed at preventing domestic terrorism and combating the threat of violent extremism by white supremacists. The bill will go next to the Senate.

Stronger laws and better data collection is needed. Debunking race replacement theory, showing empathy and respect to those different from us and actively speaking out against bigotry of all forms will help.

At CALÓ NEWS we plan to do a series of stories on the rise in hate. If you have a story to share, please let us know by contacting us at info@latinomedia.org.

Hatred is festering in this country and we must shine a light on it.

Teresa Puente

Teresa Puente has spent her career reporting on immigration and Latino issues in the U.S. and has also reported extensively from Mexico. Previously, she was a staff reporter at the Chicago Tribune and...