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In Face of Violence, Racist Rhetoric, and Mass ICE Raids, Latinx Community Leaders Publish Letter Declaring, 'We Will Not Be Silenced'

"We won't stop organizing for ourselves, our children, and for the soul of this nation."

Actors and activists Zoe Saldana, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, and Gina Rodriguez were among more than 200 Latinx entertainers, artists, and rights advocates who published a letter of solidarity addressed to the Latin American community in the U.S. on Friday. (Photo: Gaston De Cardenas/AFP/Getty Images)

Banding together after a number of attacks on immigrants and Latinx people in the U.S., more than 200 Latinx entertainers, artists, and rights advocates published a letter in several major newspapers on Friday, which pledges solidarity with people of Latin American descent across the United States.

The letter affirmed that Latinx public figures "will demand dignity and justice" in the face of repeated attacks by President Donald Trump and the Republican Party and called on all Americans to stand with Latinx communities and defend human rights.

"May we turn this time of despair into a time of action. May our love for one another be the guiding light in these dark times."
—Open letter to U.S. Latinx community

"If you are feeling terried, heartbroken, and defeated by the barrage of attacks on our community, you are not alone," the letter reads. "We won't stop organizing for ourselves, our children, and for the soul of this nation. We call on [our allies] to speak out loudly against hate, to contribute your resources to organizations that support our community, and to hold our leaders accountable."

The document was printed in the New York Times as well as several Spanish-language newspapers, including El Nuevo Herald, La Opinión, and El Diario. Actors Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, and Diane Guerrero were among the organizers of the effort, gathering signatures from labor rights activist Dolores Huerta, United We Dream co-founder Cristina Jimenez, and entertainers Edward James Olmos and Lin-Manuel Miranda, both outspoken social justice advocates.

Ferrera appeared on MSNBC on Friday to discuss the letter, saying she and her fellow organizers were driven to fight back against the daily barrage of Trump's attacks on marginalized communities.

"It is so easy to be overwhelmed with the bad news, to be so heartbroken, so devastated, and even numbed to what is happening to human beings in our country at this moment, that it paralyzes us," Ferrera said. "And we can't be paralyzed. We have to fight through that, and we have to continue to show up because it matters when we show up."

The letter was printed two weeks after a gunman drove nine hours from Dallas to El Paso, Texas to target the largely-Latinx city in the deadliest attack on Latin American people in the U.S. in recent history.

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The gunman posted a racist and anti-immigration statement online shortly before he opened fire at a Walmart, killing 22 shoppers, most of whom were Latinx. In it, echoing language used by Trump, he said the attack was a response to the "Hispanic invasion" of Texas. Mexico's government declared the shooting a terrorist attack aimed at Mexican-Americans and Mexican nationals.   

The letter was also a response to last week's ICE raids in Mississippi, in which the Trump administration rounded up nearly 700 undocumented immigrants, leaving many children without their parents. Some of the families affected still have not been reunited.  

"We have been targeted with mass shootings and mass ICE raids meant to terrify us, squash our hope, and break our spirits," the letter reads. "But, we will not be broken. We will not be silenced. We will continue to denounce any hateful and inhumane treatment of our community."

The authors denounced the Trump administration's forcible separation of thousands of Latinx families through deportation and detention, as well as his anti-immigration rhetoric.

"The indignities and cruelty we have endured will never change the truth that the contributions we make to this country are invaluable. Our humanity must be respected," they wrote. "May we turn this time of despair into a time of action. May our love for one another be the guiding light in these dark times."

The signers and their supporters took to social media to call on all Americans to "read the letter, share the love, and declare yourself an ally" who will "fight for the humanity of all people."

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