Confronting White Nationalism, in El Paso and everywhere it manifests itself

August 5, 2019

Dear Enroot Community,

Heartbroken and Shocked. These are our natural responses to tragic violence like the attacks over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton.

As the leader of an organization dedicated to lifting up the positive truth about immigrants and supporting their success, any assault on their humanity is painful. As the husband of an amazing Mexican American woman and proud father of Mexican American children, the attack in El Paso hurts in a special way.

In addition to the incomprehensible feeling of loss among victims’ families, these events also inflict trauma on many millions of people and leave them feeling less welcome, less accepted, and far less safe.

Voicing these responses, of being heartbroken and shocked, assure us of our humanity and help bring us together. And yet we can no longer truthfully claim to be shocked. Neither event could be described as shocking since they fit right into a disturbing trend that must be confronted vigorously and immediately. While the motive of the Dayton shooter remains unclear for now, the El Paso shooter was motivated by a racist White Nationalist narrative that is growing around the world. Headlines about an ‘Anti-immigrant Massacre’ and a motivating manifesto referencing a ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas’ are all at once unthinkable and yet clearly connect to words and ideas that are amplified by thought leaders in our country.

The White Nationalist ideology and movement is a cancer. Unaddressed and untreated, it will continue to grow and cause pain and destruction to our society.

It is essential for those of us who recognize this threat to speak out openly, courageously, and often. It needs to become the topic of more frequent conversation among all of us so that we can better understand it. As we develop a deeper shared understanding of its genesis and its subscribers, we must take steps together as a country to relentlessly attack it at the roots and ensure it is ultimately dismantled.

I hope that as we seek healing in this moment we turn to both love and action. In my experience the healing process requires we find productive channels for the outrage we feel. Let it be your fuel for taking action. Convert some of it into messages of love for those around you who need reassurance. Convert some of it also into concrete actions to confront and dismantle the White Nationalist narrative wherever you see it manifested. Each of us must find our role to play.

Thank you for the many ways each of you already stand in solidarity with our immigrant community, reaffirming the truth about their humanity and enormous contribution to our country.

Yours in love and in action,

Ben Clark