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USA Today recently published a moving story highlighting and explaining the fears and frustrations of Latinos in the United States in the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.

It’s a poignant piece that I encourage everyone to read. Find it here.

In it, you’ll read first-person accounts from parents, teenagers, migrant advocates and workers. They share a common anxiety that they could be the target of the next racist shooter.

For many, their concerns and experiences with discrimination start long before the recent uptick in racist rhetoric and acts. That may be unsurprising, but they are saddening nonetheless.

Here are a few of the quotes from the story.

“The Latino community are always thinking, ‘Is this the day that we’re going to have a maniac, a wacko come into the store and shoot you because you’re black, you’re Hispanic?’” says Veronica Arroyo Bonet, her hands folding and unfolding as she speaks, her voice rising with each word. “That’s the reality — it’s nerve-wracking."

Young children pick up on early cues of discrimination.

“I had a German classmate who was treated completely different than I was,” says Angélica Cesar. “Her language was celebrated while mine wasn’t, so I’d always felt that difference, I always knew that it was there ... growing up.”

For those who have heard me speak or who have read my previous posts, you know that I am deeply connected to my family’s immigration story. My parents were immigrants to the U.S. from Ireland and Scotland. They overcame obstacles, but also benefitted from sharing the skin color of the dominant population.

That’s not a characteristic that many of today’s migrants from Mexico and Central America share.

Racism seeps into all levels of our society, weakening individuals, families and entire communities. It can tear us apart one-by-one and collectively. It fosters doubt in self-worth, and, at its most extreme, leads to violent attacks like we saw in El Paso.

Read these stories, take them to heart and work to fight racism and violence in your community and across our society. All of us, no matter who we are, what we look like, or where we came from, deserve equal respect and opportunity.

We all share a common humanity. #United4Humanity

Inspired by what you read? Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.