It has been a month since one of the worst tragedies in U.S. history, when an 18-year-old opened fire at a school in Uvalde, leaving 19 students and two teachers dead.
The community, preeminently Latino, has decided to turn the pain into action, creating a movement to ensure that this type of tragedy does not happen again.
It is “Fierce Madres,” a movement created by dozens of Latinas in Texas to advocate for gun control and denounce the slow police action during the massacre, according to EFE.
“Our motto is action, without fear,” Angela Villescaz, one of its founders, tells Efe. “The massacre in Uvalde was a direct shot to our hearts, to the heart of the Latino community.”
The women, some of whom lost their children in the attack, have organized to demand the dismissal of school police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, arguing the police force’s negligence in taking action.
As explained by the Washington Post, the Fierce Madres movement has grown to more than 1,000 members in just a few days, quite a feat in a southwest Texas city where hunting tourism remains a major economic driver and private gun ownership is commonplace.
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— LOrion (@LOrion) June 23, 2022
The organization already has about 1,000 members, including fathers, grandfathers, and grandmothers in the Uvalde community of about 15,000.
But unlike other groups that originated in the wake of gun tragedies, such as Sandy Hook Elementary School or Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Uvalde’s predominantly Mexican-American families work low-wage, full-time jobs. They have no connections to high-profile lawmakers, and many don’t have a Twitter account, the Post continued.
But Uvalde’s history, known for its involvement in movements such as the Civil Rights movement, along with the Latina’s tenacity, has been more than enough.
“It’s about time we flipped the script,” said Tina Quintanilla, 41, member of the Fierce Madres, to the Post. “Collectively, with our older generations, we can do this.”
The mothers have attended each of the public meetings that local and state governments have held to inform them about the investigation into the shooting, have given their testimonies, and have been inspired by activists like Olga Rodriguez and Juan Sanchez, who fought against injustices in the Uvalde community.
“You may not know much about our culture, but you don’t mess with our kids,” Villescaz said. “We have to stay laser-focused on what Hispanic moms are trying to do because they have never really been given this kind of space.”