Opinion: From Despair to Unity Reflecting on the Uvalde Mass Shooting as a Latina

Written by Jacky Ma

TW- The following article references Gun violence, mass shootings, & Murder. Triad Voice Magazine does not endorse opinions shared in this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect Triad Voice Magazine. 

When I was 12 years old, back in middle school in Miami, Fl, I witnessed, along with the rest of the world, a horrific event on September 11, 2001. I was young but old enough to see the planes hitting the twin towers on the news. That day, amongst my peers, I was in my desk chair watching my teachers in shock and my friends scared. My mom picked us up quite early, and she cried and told us how much she loved us. Now, at 33 years of age, one tragic event after another, from the El Paso Walmart shooting to the Uvalde Elementary School shooting, I’ve learned to disassociate. And I will be honest; I am so tired. I am so tired of people losing their lives, of CHILDREN losing their lives. As a brown Latina, watching mi gente dying from the hate that has become culturalized makes me fearful and furious. What do we do, y’all? The last thing we need is despair; what we need the most is unity. I get it. In my lifetime as a millennial, I have witnessed on the news hundreds of shootings. We all know the cycle of responses given by leaders of “thoughts and prayers” with no apparent changes to prevent more people from dying. This kind of reaction has become so typical that it has desensitized some of us. The normalization of thousands of people dying is terrifying when the reality is that so many deaths from mass shootings could have been prevented. 

With this in mind, I reflect on how many people have lost hope for things to change. The immediate feeling of sadness and grief goes away, and we live our lives until the next tragic event, a future horror that could happen to any of us or our children. So I look to you, Winston-Salem. I do not want to leave you with the idea that things can not change. To mi gente, my latine/o/x community, I am here with you. I know hearing the news of the Uvalde shooting featuring mainly latine/x children was painful and difficult. For young adults who do not have children of their own like myself, this incident may make you want to rethink having children to begin with. Your emotions, your pain, and your heartache are valid. You are not alone. Please, in these very moments of sadness or anger, just know that things do not have to be this way. We, YOU, have a voice for what you want for yourself and your family’s future. We can ask for change, we can ask for safety, and we can ask for MORE. We contribute so much to this economy, we love this country just as much as anyone, and we have poder – the ability to do it. I believe in us. And I believe in you to take a stand to build a better future.

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