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Oregon's Latino Leadership Network expresses support for the Uvalde, Texas, victims

PODER would like to offer its deepest condolences to the families, teachers, and classmates that were affected during the Uvalde, Texas school shooting on May 24 which claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers with many more injured.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Anthony Veliz, Woodburn

It is a reminder of the senseless act of gun violence that the U.S. has endured far too many times, where thoughts and prayers aren't merely enough. We also can't ignore that oftentimes these acts of violence are plagued by the worldwide illness that is mental health.

Uvalde sits about 80 miles west of San Antonio and about 70 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 80% of Uvalde's population identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and about 1 in 5 lives below the poverty line. In places where school security is accessible to some, it is our most vulnerable communities that find themselves at a disadvantage.

We must work together to break the stigma that surrounds mental health and the Latino community. We must ensure that access to mental health services are available as more resources are needed. It's critical that it receives the equitable funding it needs.

We must also come together and demand a change be made. There needs to be common sense laws to ensure our community is safe from the acts of gun violence, and elect those in power who will put their community members first. Our children deserve to feel safe in schools.

PODER stands with its Latino community and all those who have been affected by gun violence.

Anthony Veliz, on behalf of Oregon's Latino Leadership Network

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