LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – It was a brutal form of violence. Police say 22 people were killed at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, by a gunman who made no secret of his hatred of Latinos.
Thousands of miles away, in a city that’s dominated by a Hispanic population, Lancaster is feeling the effects.
“What we saw now was racism that was once rooted and hidden was coaxed out by Donald Trump and this event,” Xavier Garcia-Molina said.
Garcia-Molina was born in Puerto Rico, but he now calls Lancaster home. He said an anti-Hispanic sentiment has been growing for years.
“What happened in El Paso is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said.
Garcia-Molina said since the election of President Trump, who has openly called for tighter borders and tougher immigration laws, some Latinos feel they are being targeted.
“The fear is amongst us all, even if we are citizens,” he said.
In Lancaster, there has been a movement to welcome those from all over.
Annie Diaz is the board president of the Latino American Cultural Center in Lancaster.
“I would love to see more of that gap closed when it comes to us try to share the cross-cultural experiences with others,” she said. “Not only because we want to say we’re Latinos, this is who we are, but it’s also [education] amongst each other.”
Diaz said in order to calm fears, conversations like that need to be more prevalent.
“The diversity is there,” he said. “We have much more work to do.”