EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The Mexican consulate in El Paso plans to unveil a plaque on Monday in honor of the victims of the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting at the Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall.
“The Mexican government does not want the victims or the act itself to be forgotten,” said Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de Leon, Mexico’s consul general in El Paso. “This was one of the most serious attacks against the Mexican community in the United States and is a situation that should not happen again.”
The plaque will include the names of the 23 people who were killed. Nine of them were born in Mexico, though two had become naturalized American citizens.
A cinder-block and concrete pedestal is being built outside the consulate to hold the plaque. Dignitaries from the Mexican Foreign Ministry are expected to attend the 8:30 a.m. ceremony on Monday. Because of social distancing, the public is invited to follow the ceremony through the consulate’s Facebook page.
Ibarra said the massacre shocked Mexicans residing in El Paso. Many sought the consulate’s mental health counselors in the days following the shooting.
“It took a long time for the community to internalize the incident,” he said. “El Paso is among the safest cities in the United States. The fact that an individual came from the outside to commit such a crime had a profound impact not just on the victims, but in the community.”
Ibarra said El Paso residents were able to overcome the trauma of the event by comforting each other and relying on the unity that characterizes this largely binational community.
“The anniversary will obviously reopen some wounds, but (the survivors and their families) take strength in the support and solidarity they have received from people, organizations and government agencies who came to their aid,” Ibarra said. “Many individuals showed their support, and I think that is the most important takeaway one year after this regrettable event.”
A North Texas resident allegedly carried out the attack upset over a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The consul said such violent xenophobic views should not be condoned.
“It’s important to be united in eradicating hateful expressions that not only affect the Mexican community, but others as well,” Ibarra said, adding there should also be a conversation to “fight the indiscriminate use of firearms.”