Message from Superintendent Cabrera regarding the anniversary of the attacks on El Paso
Dear EPISD Community,
One year ago, El Paso was jarred by an act so hateful and deliberate that it shook us to our core. A white supremacist, with no understanding or regard for our peaceful Sun City, drove hundreds of miles with the intent to kill individuals because of the color of their skin and to stop — in his words — a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Twenty-three people died, dozens were injured and the United States was forever changed.
However, on that day, and the days that followed, El Paso showed unprecedented strength, determination and resilience. We were knocked down, but we were in no way defeated. The attacker’s intent to weaken our beautiful city and culture unequivocally backfired. Instead of cowering, El Pasoans did what they have done for generations: fight back, thrive and protect our community.
Our #ElPasoSTRONG response reminds me of Dr. Martin Luther King's words: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Minutes after the shooting, EPISD was at the forefront of the response to the tragedy. EPISD police officers were amongst the first responders on the scene at Walmart. And just hours after the shooting, EPISD began the process of transforming nearby MacArthur Intermediate School into an Emergency Reunification Center. Dedicated staff kept MacArthur open for nearly 72 hours and turned our classrooms into shelters, counseling facilities and grief centers. Our employees worked around the clock to provide meals and private meeting rooms to first responders and the families of survivors and victims. In addition, EPISD students mobilized quickly to raise funds, donate blood and build memorials. Our students, parents and employees should feel proud to be part of the #EPISDPROUD community .
The August 3 attack will always be a reminder of the fragility of life and the hard work required to fight racism, create cultural unity and appreciate our differences. Let’s continue on a path to recovery by embracing the opportunities to learn more about one another and work towards a peaceful and meaningful coexistence regardless of race, faith, ethnicity, gender identity, creed, sexual orientation or nationality. El Paso has been a beacon of hope for generations, proudly claiming the first school district (EPISD) and major university (Texas Western, now UTEP) in the American South to desegregate following Brown vs Board of Education. El Paso also is the home of the first chapter of the NAACP in Texas. And while imperfect, our welcoming and inclusive culture on the Border can help us model a better future for the entire country.
Let’s remain El Paso Strong and EPISD Proud as we continue to fight for peace, love and understanding. Let us also remember Dr. King's words “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Yours in remembrance of the August 3 victims and survivors,
Juan E. Cabrera