DENVER (CBS4) – When you glance at the Robb Elementary school sign, you can see a glimpse of the bicultural, bilingual community that is Uvalde, Texas. The word “Welcome” is bolted at the top of the school’s brick sign, and “Bienvenidos” at the bottom.
Tuesday’s mass school shooting at Robb Elementary left 19 children and two teachers dead, most of them Latino. This is the second mass shooting in a border town in less than three years.
On Wednesday, representatives with LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, were on the ground in Uvalde helping translate and offering other services to the community. LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic/Latino civil rights organization in the United States.
“I’m angry… and I am angry when I see those pictures of those little kids,” said Sonny Subia, the LULAC Colorado state director. “It breaks my heart that we have little Latinos in Uvalde, Texas… that these parents are waking up in the morning to an empty bedroom, an empty seat at the table. It really doesn’t matter what race they are, but it hits a little closer to home knowing those some of these kids are neighbors, relatives and family members.”
According to Census data, Uvalde’s population is predominantly Hispanic. While this is a tragedy impacting many in the country, it’s especially impacting Latinos.
“It’s having an immense impact. Our staff is part of the community as well, it’s just heartbreaking,” said Anaísa Lúa, a bilingual therapist at Servicios de La Raza. “As a community we continue to experience trauma.”
That impact prompted Servicios de La Raza to extend its hours this week for their behavioral health inquiry line to help those navigating these difficult times. The line offers support in both English and Spanish and is available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
“Within my already scheduled therapy sessions it’s definitely coming up, and it seems that we do have community members reaching out through our services line to get that extra support,” Lúa said.
While communities continue to heal from this tragedy, along with so many recent others like Buffalo, where 10 Black people were killed, advocates like Subia are asking for change, so all communities are safe.
“This could have been avoided,” Subia said. “If we’re not out there organizing, voting and making change then we’re not doing anything for our community, and then these children would have been murdered in vain.”
Servicios de La Raza also offers Weekly Peer Support groups to the community. If you’re in an immediate crisis or need 24 hour service, contact the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-8255.