LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s horrific mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas – a community that is overwhelmingly Latino:

“Yesterday, a setting that should be a place of safety, curiosity, and dreams instead became the site of unspeakable terror and nightmare.  MALDEF and all of our staff members share our sympathy and compassion with all of the families that now suffer the long-term, tremendous trauma from the violent loss of a child.  They will need our collective support for many years to come.

“The murder of 19 children and two teachers at a public elementary school whose enrollment is over 90 percent Latino also has a significant effect on the national Latino community.  The horror at Robb Elementary marks the third mass killing the Latino community has experienced in just the last six years.  Uvalde, Texas joins Orlando, Florida and El Paso, Texas on the list of cities experiencing the mass murder of multiple Latino community members by armed individuals who should never have possessed the arsenals they used to tear apart families and communities.  Shootings at a nightclub, a shopping center, and a school indicate that no aspect of community life has been free from violent disruption in recent years.

“The curiosity that exists abundantly at all schools remains, converted into a conundrum that challenges us all to try to fathom why policy leaders have not acted to protect children in our schools and to prevent possession of weaponry by those who will misuse it and do such tremendous harm. The Latino community needs sensible gun control now.”