Tag Archives: hispanic

Study: Racial disparities found in police traffic stops

A study of statewide police traffic stops in Vermont, the second-whitest state in the country, has found racial disparities in how police treat drivers.

Black drivers were four times more likely than whites to be searched after traffic stops, and Hispanic drivers were nearly three times more likely, according to the University of Vermont study, Driving While Black and Brown in Vermont. At the same time, black and Hispanic drivers were less likely than white and Asian drivers to be found with contraband that leads to an arrest or citation, according to the report, which was based on 2015 data.

Black and Hispanic drivers also were more likely than white drivers to get traffic tickets versus warnings, and black drivers were twice as likely as white drivers to be arrested after stops, the study said.

“Almost all of the agencies in our study exhibit disparities in traffic policing to one degree or another,” said study co-author Stephanie Seguino, a professor in the university’s Department of Economics. “In other words, the results are not uniquely attributable to one or two agencies, but it’s really a widespread problem in terms of policing.”

One of the reasons some police officers use to explain the higher rate of searches of black drivers versus white drivers is concerns about the opioid crisis and drugs coming in from out of state, and there’s a racial component to those perceptions, Seguino said. But the study found white and Asian drivers were more likely than black or Hispanic drivers stopped to be found with contraband.

Vermont, which has a population of about 625,000, was 94.8 percent white the year the policing study was done, according to U.S. Census figures. Only Maine, at 94.9 percent, was whiter. Blacks made up 1.3 percent of the Vermont population, Hispanics 1.8 percent and Asians 1.6 percent.

The study looked at traffic stop data from 29 departments across Vermont, following a 2014 state law that required police to collect such race information. But many agencies had missing data in key categories, said co-author Nancy Brooks, of Cornell University, who said more work is needed to improve the data quality.

Police treatment of drivers varied among departments, the study found.

In Rutland, for example, police searched black drivers at a rate of more than six times that of white drivers while white drivers searched were found with contraband at a higher rate than black drivers.

Rutland police Chief Brian Kilcullen, who has been on the job since November 2015, said he was somewhat surprised by the findings.

“You start with awareness, and that’s what this does,” he said of the report, adding that the police department has done training sessions.

Burlington police Chief Brandon del Pozo said his department is seeing an improvement in the rate at which searches lead to contraband, called the hit rate, meaning police are doing fewer unnecessary searches.

To reduce the racial disparities, the report’s authors recommend creating a standardized system for collecting data, giving officers feedback on their performance during stops, supporting police departments in giving frequent training sessions on bias and monitoring disparities annually.

Proposed interstate expansion prompts federal civil rights investigation

The U.S. Department of Transportation will initiate an investigation of alleged civil rights violations related to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s proposal to expand I-70.

The state DOT wants to expand the interstate through the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods in North Denver.

The federal decision is a response to a complaint filed Nov. 15 by Earthjustice on behalf of the Colorado Latino Forum, Cross Community Coalition and Elyria and Swansea Neighborhood Association. The complaint alleges the plan to triple I-70’s width would result in “disparate and severe environmental and economic impacts” on the predominantly Latino communities.

CDOT committed to moving forward with the expansion plan in May, but has yet to issue its formal record of its decision.

The agency, which receives federal funding for the I-70 and other projects, is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from taking actions that have even an unintentional discriminatory impact on citizens on the basis of their race, color, or national origin.

“We are looking forward to making the case that CDOT’s proposal magnifies the already discriminatory impact that I-70 has had on these neighborhoods for decades, leading to reduced life expectancies and the highest rates of pollution-related illnesses in the city,” said Heidi McIntosh, an attorney at Earthjustice who represents the neighborhood advocates.

Interstate 70 was built through the area in the 1960s over the objections of neighborhood organizations and business owners.

Fifty years later, the neighborhood is the most polluted in Colorado.

Residents have significantly higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and asthma-related emergency room visits than the rest of Denver, according to EarthJustice.

The expansion of I-70, adding toll lanes and eliminating access to the highway from the neighborhood, would worsen environmental and health consequences for this community, the EarthJustice complaint states.

It would result in:

• Increased exposure to freeway-related air pollution and expose residents to airborne dust from existing Superfund sites that are contaminated by lead and arsenic.

• Disruption to the social fabric of the neighborhood and its economic vitality by destroying at least 56 homes, 13 commercial buildings and the Swansea Elementary School playground. About 200 people would be displaced by the expansion.

Trump wins presidency with lowest minority vote in 40 years

Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency with less support from black and Hispanic voters than any president in at least 40 years, a Reuters review of polling data shows, highlighting deep national divisions that have fueled incidents of racial and political confrontation.

Trump was elected with 8 percent of the black vote, 28 percent of the Hispanic vote and 27 percent of the Asian-American vote, according to the Reuters/Ipsos Election Day poll.

Among black voters, his showing was comparable to the 9 percent captured by George W. Bush in 2000 and Ronald Reagan in 1984. But Bush and Reagan both did far better with Hispanic voters, capturing 35 percent and 34 percent, respectively, according to exit polling data compiled by the non-partisan Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

And Trump’s performance among Asian-Americans was the worst of any winning presidential candidate since tracking of that demographic began in 1992.

The racial polarization behind Trump’s victory has helped set the stage for tensions that have surfaced repeatedly since the election, in white supremacist victory celebrations, in anti-Trump protests and civil rights rallies, and in hundreds of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate crimes documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist movements.

The SPLC reports there were 701 incidents of “hateful harassment and intimidation” between the day following the Nov. 8 election and Nov. 16, with a spike in such incidents in the immediate wake of the vote.

Signs point to an ongoing atmosphere of confrontation.

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a white separatist group that vilifies African-Americans, Jews and other minorities, plans an unusual Dec. 3 rally in North Carolina to celebrate Trump’s victory.

Left-wing groups have called for organized protests to disrupt the president-elect’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

And a “Women’s March on Washington,” scheduled for the following day, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to protest Trump’s presidency.

American politics became increasingly racialized through President Barack Obama’s two terms, “but there was an attempt across the board, across the parties, to keep those tensions under the surface,” says Jamila Michener, an assistant professor of government at Cornell University.

Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric “brought those divisions to the fore; it activated people on the right, who felt empowered, and it activated people on the left, who saw it as a threat,” she added.

That dynamic was evident last week.

When Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended the Broadway musical “Hamilton” in New York on Friday, the multi-ethnic cast closed with a statement expressing fears of a Trump presidency. A far different view was on display the next day as a crowd of about 275 people cheered Trump’s election at a Washington conference of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist group with a strong anti-Semitic beliefs.

“We willed Donald Trump into office; we made this dream our reality,” NPI President Richard Spencer said. After outlining a vision of America as “a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” he closed with, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!”

DIVISION BREEDS CONFRONTATION

Though Trump’s election victory was driven by white voters, his performance even among that group was not as strong as some of his predecessors. Reagan and George H.W. Bush both won the presidency with higher shares of the white vote than the 55 percent that Trump achieved.

The historical voting patterns reflect decades of polarization in American politics, but the division surrounding Trump appears more profound, says Cas Mudde, an associate professor specializing in political extremism at the University of Georgia. These days, he adds, “people say they don’t want their children even to date someone from the other party.”

Indeed, voters’ opinions of those on the opposite side of the partisan divide have reached historic lows. Surveys by the Pew Research Center showed this year that majorities of both parties held “very unfavorable” views of the other party — a first since the center first measured such sentiment in 1992.

And the lion’s share of those people believe the opposing party’s policies “are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being,” the center found.

That level of division has spurred activists on both sides of the political divide to take their activism in a more confrontational direction.

In the wake of Trump’s victory, protesters on the left took to the streets by the thousands in cities across the country, in some cases causing property damage.

Much of the agitation was motivated by a belief that Trump’s administration will foster racism and push the courts and other political institutions to disenfranchise minority voters, says James Anderson, editor of ItsGoingDown.Org, an anarchist website that has promoted mass demonstrations against Trump’s presidency, including a call to disrupt his inauguration.

Meanwhile, John Roberts, a top officer in the Ku Klux Klan affiliate planning the December rally to celebrate Trump’s election, says the group is committed to non-violent demonstrations, but he sees Trump’s election as likely to bring a new era of political conflict. And much of the strife, he says, will be centered around racial divisions.

“Once Trump officially takes office, there is going to be a boiling over at some point in time,” Roberts says. “Who knows when that’s going to be, but it’s not going to be pretty.”

Voces de la Frontera: We must now redouble our efforts

The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera announced a series of community forums throughout Wisconsin following the victory of Donald Trump, who has vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border, conduct mass deportations and institute a ban on certain types of people coming to America.

The first forum will be at St. Rafael Catholic Church, 2059 S. 33rd St., Milwaukee, at 1 p.m. on Nov. 13.

The second forum will be at the Racine Labor Center, 2100 Layard Ave., Racine, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, issued this statement after the election:

“For 15 years, Voces de la Frontera has fought to defend immigrant workers and their families. With every organizing tool available, our community has ceaselessly protected itself from the same xenophobia that has now risen to power in the government. We’ve done it through marches, rallies, civil disobedience, lawsuits, building electoral power and more. With Trump’s election, we must now redouble our efforts.”

She continued, “The immigrant rights movement is resilient, militant and rooted in working class identity. Our movement has broad experience mobilizing strikes, walkouts, boycotts, and economic action when political action has not been possible, as we did in Wisconsin when we defeated anti-immigrant state legislation earlier this year by organizing a Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants. If we see any movement to erode what our movement has won, like DACA, we will do whatever is needed to protect it. We are committed to organizing nationally with our networks and broadening the struggle to include other groups of workers and people who have been threatened by Trump.

“Trump’s message of fear and division unfortuantely resonated with white blue collar voters, who have suffered economic hardship similar to African Americans and Latinos. In the decimation of union organization, they don’t feel there’s a voice for them. But I do not believe that the majority of those people represent the worst elements of the Trump camaign – the far-right, white supremacist ideology we’ve seen. I think that most Trump voters want the same things that people of color want and need. And the promise they hoped to see in Trump will be betrayed, because he never ran on a platform that supported working people.”

The day after the election, Voces de la Frontera held a news conference where members spoke about how they are responding to Trump’s victory.

“I’m scared,” said Valeria Ruiz, 20, a DACA beneficiary from Racine. “From one day to another, my future, my 9-year-old sister’s future and that of more than 9 million undocumented immigrants in this country, is suddenly less certain. It’s terrifying. But we will do what we’ve always done – unite and fight.”

“I have a beautiful family,” said Lola Flores, an undocumented mother of four and Voces de la Frontera member from Waukesha. “Today my daughter called me from her middle school and told me that her Latino classmates were crying. It’s heartbreaking. But I will never stop fighting for the future of my children.”


 

La elección de Trump significa que tenemos que defendernos sin descansar

MILWAUKEE, WI – Después de la elección de Donald Trump como Presidente, Voces de la Frontera anunció una serie de foros comunitarios a en el estado de Wisconsin. El primer foro será en la Iglesia Católica San Rafael (2059 S 33rd St en Milwaukee) a la 1pm el domingo 13 de noviembre (más información aquí). El segundo foro será en Racine Labor Center (2100 Layard Ave en Racine) a las 5pm el domingo, 13 de noviembre (más información aquí).

En respuesta a los resultados electorales, Voces de la Frontera publicó la siguiente declaración:

“Por 15 años, Voces de la Frontera ha luchado para defender a los trabajadores inmigrantes y sus familias,” dijo Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Directora Ejecutiva de Voces de la Frontera. “Con todas las herramientas de organizar disponibles, nuestra comunidad se ha protegido sin cesar de la misma xenofobia que ahora () ha subido al poder de los Estados Unidos al gobierno. Lo hemos hecho a través de marchas, manifestaciones, desobediencia civil, luchas, representación del poder electoral y más. Ahora, tenemos que redoblar nuestros esfuerzos.

“Nuestro movimiento tiene una amplia experiencia movilizando huelgas, boicots y la acciones económicas cuando la acción política no ha sido posible, como lo hicimos en Wisconsin cuando derrotamos a las propuestas de ley anti-inmigrantes anteriormente este año al organizar un Día sin Latinxs e Inmigrantes. “Este movimiento basado en los derechos de los inmigrantes es resistente, militante y basado con la identificación de la clase trabajadora. Si vemos que cualquier de nuestros esfuerzos están siendo amenazados para ser elimanados, como DACA, vamos a hacer lo que sea necesario para protegerlos. Estamos comprometidos a organizar a través de nuestros redes nacionales y ampliaremos nuestra lucha para incluir a otros grupos de trabajadores y personas amenazadas por Trump.

“El mensaje de miedo y división de Trump resonó con los trabajadores blancos, que han sufrido dificultades económicas similares a los afroamericanos y a los latinos. Con la decadencia de las uniones, no sienten que hay una voz para ellos. Pero yo no creo que la mayoría de esas personas representan a los peores elementos de la campaña de Trump – la ideología de la extrema derecha, la supremacía blanca que hemos visto. Pienso que la mayoría de los votantes por Trump quieren las mismas cosas que la gente de color quiere y necesita. Sus esperanzas en Trump serán traicionadas, porque Trump nunca creó en una plataforma que apoyaba a la gente trabajadora.”

El miércoles, Voces de la Frontera tuvo una conferencia de prensa donde unos miembros de la organización hablaron sobre cómo están respondiendo a la victoria de Trump.

“Tengo miedo,” dijo Valeria Ruiz, de 20 años, una beneficiaria de DACA de Racine.”De un día para otro, mi futuro, el futuro de mi hermana de 9 años y el futuro de de más de 11 millones inmigrantes indocumentados en este país es de repente menos seguro. Es aterrador, pero haremos lo que siempre hemos hecho: unirnos y luchar.”

“Tengo una hermosa familia,” dijo Lola Flores, una madre indocumentada de cuatro hijos y miembra de Voces de la Frontera de Waukesha. “Hoy mi hija me llamó de su escuela media y me dijo que sus compañeros de clase latinos estaban llorando. Es desgarrador, pero nunca dejaré de luchar por el futuro de mis hijos.”

Hispanic woman fired for reporting harassment by pro-Trump co-workers

A Hispanic woman says her white co-workers at an Iowa claims office used images of Donald Trump to racially harass her for months after they learned she was angered by his description of Mexican immigrants as rapists, according to a civil rights lawsuit she filed against her company.

Alexandra Avila’s co-workers at Sedgwick Claims Management Services — where they administered benefits for Wal-Mart employees — began calling her an “illegal immigrant” even though she’s a natural-born U.S. citizen, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Iowa district court. The suit claims her former co-workers placed a picture of an angry-looking Trump as Avila’s computer’s screensaver, signed her up to volunteer for his campaign and sent her racist memes, including one that read: “How’s Mr. Donald Trump going to deport all these illegals? Juan by Juan.”

The Republican presidential candidate’s promise to build a border wall to keep out Mexican immigrants has for months contributed to racial tensions nationwide. “Build a wall” chants have been used by high school students to taunt Latino opponents at sporting events in multiple states, including Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana. At Kent State University, Latinos marching in the Homecoming parade this month said they were taunted with the same chant.

Avila, a 32-year-old mother of one who worked at Sedgwick for three years, claims she faced similar heckling at her white-collar workplace in Coralville, Iowa, from the beginning of Trump’s campaign in June 2015 until after she was fired five months later.

“It’s been a weird political season where one candidate is taking public stances on things that, if the same words were said in the workplace, might constitute violations of our civil rights laws,” said Avila’s attorney, Paige Fiedler. “His candidacy has emboldened some people to feel like that doesn’t violate social norms anymore.”

Lesley Gudehus, spokeswoman for Memphis, Tennessee-based Sedgwick, declined comment on the lawsuit.

Avila, born in California to Mexican parents, told colleagues she was upset with Trump’s 2015 campaign launch when he said of Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Soon after, the lawsuit claims, colleagues removed the photo Avila had of her young daughter as her computer screensaver and replaced it with a picture of Trump yelling and pointing his finger. When Avila removed the photo, they kept switching it back to Trump, the suit alleges.

An email arrived from the Trump campaign last fall thanking her for the support and asking how she wanted to help, according to the suit. Avila also claims her colleagues sent offensive memes, including one showing a brown-skinned man that read: “Found Jesus — he stabbed me twice.”

When her department was voting on a potluck menu, one co-worker said Avila was ineligible because she was an “illegal immigrant,” drawing laughter from Avila’s boss, the lawsuit claims. Avila contends that after she complained about the harassment, the company accused her of falsifying timecards by claiming she worked minutes more time than she actually did.

Avila was fired last November and escorted out, with Sedgwick saying it would send her personal property later. When her belongings arrived from FedEx, Avila says they contained a handwritten note that called her “La Trumpa” and added: “Illegal immigrants can’t vote or work. Good luck finding a job.”

“Getting that box in the mail was a horrific experience,” Fiedler says.

After her firing, a co-worker sent her an invitation to a Trump rally on Facebook, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit, which names Sedgwick and two supervisors, alleges Avila suffered discrimination based on national origin and that the company failed to pay wages she earned.

 

Zamarripa applauds opening of Mexican Consulate, bemoans Walker’s insincerity

State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, issued this statement after attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the official opening of the new Consulate of Mexico office in Milwaukee:

An initial, gracious thanks to the consulate of Mexico for now providing the city of Milwaukee with public services that will provide an immediate, positive impact in our community. I am optimistic that their presence and services will benefit those who need it most.

While I appreciate the kind words Gov. Scott Walker spoke about the contribution of immigrants to this great state, it is important to remember that he has not been supportive or shown consistent leadership on a number of important issues relevant to the Latino community.

This also can be said about our state’s Legislative Republicans and their advancement of an anti-immigrant, anti-Latino agenda. They have placed unnecessary hurdles before local governments that seek to issue local ID cards to some immigrants (SB 533), harshly repealed tuition equity which allowed Wisconsin “Dreamers”—undocumented, young people brought here through no fault of their own—to pay in-state tuition rates at UW schools and technical colleges (AB 785), and ignored a common-sense, public safety bill on drivers’ cards for undocumented immigrants.

They have placed unnecessary hurdles before local governments that seek to issue local ID cards to some immigrants (SB 533), harshly repealed tuition equity which allowed Wisconsin “Dreamers” — undocumented, young people brought here through no fault of their own — to pay in-state tuition rates at UW schools and technical colleges (AB 785), and ignored a common-sense, public safety bill on drivers’ cards for undocumented immigrants.

Yesterday, the governor took the opportunity to boast about Wisconsin’s dairy farm industry, an industry reliant on a Latino workforce. Ironically, what he failed to mention is how he has inhibited that workforce from having access to local identification cards, a necessary part of being a

Ironically, what he failed to mention is how he has inhibited that workforce from having access to local identification cards, a necessary part of being a diary famer in Wisconsin. Here again we see the governor’s continued hypocrisy, enabled by the Republican-dominated legislature and at the expense of countless Wisconsinites.

As the first Latina, and the first and only Mexican-American elected to the Wisconsin state Legislature, one of my foremost legislative priorities has been and will continue to be to support pragmatic, pro-immigrant policy.

Through the consulate’s efforts, Milwaukeeans and beyond will have guidance and direction for receiving important documentation such as identification cards, birth certificates and passports.

The office expects to expand their community involvement, as well as extend their reach to the constituents all across this great state, a process I look forward to witnessing evolve over time.

Latino vote director Lorella Praeli: Dreams can come true

Good evening, my name is Lorella Praeli, and I am an American. As you saw in the video, I recently became a U.S. Citizen, but for 14 years I was undocumented. At the age of 2, I was hit by a car and lost my leg. When I think about our American story, I believe it was born in the hearts of my parents that night as they stood over my hospital bed.

Because my parents were determined that I would reach my full potential and not be limited by my disability. And eventually, the only place that could contain such a vision was here in America. Because this is a country that was made for people with the courage to believe in their dreams.

Back in Peru, my mother, Chela, was a psychologist. But here in America, she’s worked cleaning houses for the last 17 years, from morning to night, carrying the American spirit in her heart. She, like so many millions of parents across this country, worked so that my sister and I could have a full life. She has taught me to never give up, to believe in my dreams, and to fight to achieve them. In short, it was my undocumented mother that taught me what it is to be an American.

That’s why I’m fighting for Hillary Clinton. Because she never gives up. Because she believes in our dreams, and because she will fight to achieve them.

Entonces, amigos, nuestra voz está en nuestro voto. Así que, si queremos hacer historia este noviembre, si queremos que nos oigan, tomen sus teléfonos ahora mismo y texteen DREAM, D – R – E – A – M al 47246. Y asegúrense de que nadie se quede en casa el diá de la elección.

So let’s go out. Knock on doors, talk to our friends and family, register new voters, make sure that no one stays home! And together, make history this November.

Juntos se puede. Thank you, and God bless the United States of America.

Will Southwest go solid for Dems because of Donald Trump?

Once a swing state in presidential elections, Colorado has teetered on the brink of becoming solidly Democratic. Donald Trump may have pushed it over the edge.

Trump’s disparaging words about Mexicans, negative comments about women and weak campaign organization have punctuated the state’s shift from a nip-and-tuck battleground to one that’s Democrat-friendly.

For the first time in more than 20 years, there are now more registered Democrats in the state than Republicans.

“Trump is turning off as many key voter groups as we have in this state,” said former state Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams. “I would have to believe Trump’s having trouble.”

And it’s not just Colorado. Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and weak campaign structure could ensure that perennially competitive Nevada and New Mexico are out of reach as well.

That matters for Trump. He can’t win the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency without capturing some states that favored Barack Obama in the last two elections.

The three Southwestern states — which have a combined 21 electoral votes — might have offered some hope. All backed Republican George W. Bush 12 years ago.

But Trump isn’t making as much of a push for those states as is his likely Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. He made his first campaign appearance in Colorado just Friday, speaking at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.

Clinton made her fifth trip on Wednesday, proposing college-loan deferment for graduates who start businesses. It was a tactical move aimed at swaying young voters, many of whom flocked to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who beat Clinton soundly in March’s Colorado caucuses.

“Hillary has some ground to make up,” said Craig Hughes, who ran Democratic President Barack Obama’s winning 2012 Colorado campaign. “But compared to Trump, Hillary is in a far, far better place.”

In Colorado, Clinton’s campaign is spending $2.4 million on television advertising this month through Election Day, while a group that supports Clinton, Priorities USA, is spending $13.6 million, according to Kantar Media’s campaign advertising tracker. In Nevada, Clinton is spending $2 million and Priorities USA is spending $10.4 million.

Neither Trump nor any super PACs supporting him have reserved advertising time in the two states. Super PACs are organizations that can spend unlimited funds on a candidate, but can’t coordinate with the campaign.

The National Rifle Association’s political arm is making small ad buys — $155,000 in Colorado and $98,000 in Nevada — to attack Clinton’s handling of the attacks on diplomatic compounds in Libya while she was secretary of state.

Clinton has had staff in Nevada for more than a year, ahead of the state’s early caucuses, and in Colorado for almost a year. Trump has a Colorado state campaign director and a Southwest regional director in Nevada.

If Colorado is a stretch for Trump, Nevada and New Mexico may be out of reach with their larger Hispanic populations and wider Democratic edge. The number of Hispanic voters has boomed in Nevada, more than doubling as a percentage of the state’s voters since 1980, to an estimated 22 percent this year. In New Mexico, nearly half the population is Hispanic.

Trump has alienated Hispanics with his call to build a wall on the Mexican border, his plans to deport the roughly 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally and by characterizing some Mexican immigrants as drug smugglers and rapists.

Still, Nevada Republican strategist Ryan Erwin says Trump could salve the wounds were he to make the effort himself.

“As that population changes, it’s harder for a Republican presidential candidate that isn’t here all the time,” said Erwin, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s Nevada director.

But Trump is relying on the Republican National Committee for staffing, as he is in all competitive states, said Trump’s Colorado director, Patrick Davis.

“There’s only so much one presidential candidate can do,” Davis said. “You’ve got to use all of the means of communication to get it done.”

Trump’s statements, late organizational start and Clinton’s statewide organization have her Colorado director Emmy Ruiz cautiously optimistic.

“I think the odds are in our favor. But I don’t think that they are strong odds. I also don’t think they are high enough for us to sit back,” Ruiz said.

Part of Clinton’s tail wind: Democrats in April nosed ahead of Republicans in voter registration for the first time since 1994. Since 2012, Democratic voter registration in Colorado has grown 7.5 percent, compared to 5 percent for Republicans.

In Nevada, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 70,000, a gap that Democrats and Republicans say could top 120,000 by Election Day. It’s a small but significant chunk of the state’s 1.5 million voters.

“Unless and until Republicans can match the kind of funding Democrats have put into their voter registration here, Republicans are going to fall behind,” said Erwin, the Republican strategist.

Last week, 18-year-old Kevin Garcia knocked on doors in 100-plus degree heat, registering Las Vegas residents to vote. He then attended a Clinton campaign calling session at a pizza restaurant.

Garcia, whose family emigrated from Mexico, was among about a dozen callers sipping cold Pepsis and using cellphones to call Nevadans. His goal was to make 100 calls that night — some in Spanish.

He said he supports Clinton because of her support for allowing people in the United States illegally to stay under certain circumstances. And because of Trump’s rhetoric.

“And my whole family is naturalized,” he said. “We’re all citizens.”

On the Web

Keep track of how much Clinton and Trump are spending on television advertising, and where they’re spending it, via AP’s interactive ad tracker.

Terror in the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’

An act of terror.

An act of hate.

The world responded with love and compassion, fury and fight.

Early on the morning of June 12, a gunman armed with an assault rifle and a handgun went on a rampage at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida. He killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others — some gravely.

The 29-year-old killer was an American who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, abused his wife, used slurs against blacks, Jewish people, women and gays — although he himself was a regular patron of Pulse. He went on to terrorize LGBT people in that place that existed to celebrate Pride and provide sanctuary.

Orlando — famously known as the “Happiest Place on Earth” — became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, a massacre that left Americans mourning the many lost and struggling to address extremism, prejudice and gun access.

“I can’t stop crying. I can’t make any sense of it all,” said Henry Rivera of Orlando, a transgender man who works at a restaurant just outside Disney World. “Everything seems different now.”

Music, dancing, and terror

On June 11, more than 300 people crowded into the high-energy club on South Orange Avenue for Latin night, an evening that promised entertainment by two drag performers, as well as dancing and music — salsa, meringue, bachata.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on June 12, Omar Mateen, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a Glock handgun, attacked the club, according to reports from the Orlando Police Department and FBI. As WiG to press, authorities were still compiling a detailed and complete timeline of what happened at Pulse.

Survivors described chaos as Mateen launched a barrage of bullets, striking people at the bar, on the dance floor, in the restrooms and elsewhere.

An off-duty Orlando police officer working as a security guard at the club responded to the gunfire. More officers arrived and Mateen retreated deeper into the club, then into a bathroom.

At 2:09 a.m. an alert was posted on Pulse’s Facebook page: “Everyone get out of pulse and keep running.”

Dozens of people ran from the club, and more than 100 police officers responded to what became a standoff.

Police believe Mateen killed most of his victims in the first 30 minutes. Those remaining in the bar were either hostages or in hiding.

At 2:39 a.m., Eddie Justice texted his mother from the bathroom in the club:

“Call them mommy”

“Now”

“I’m still in the bathroom”

“Hes coming”

“Im going to die.”

Justice did die. His last text from the club was at 2:50 a.m.

At about 5 a.m., police used a controlled explosion and an armored vehicle with a battering ram to clear a way for people inside the club to escape.

Mateen died in an exchange of gunfire with police shortly after that.

Violent, conflicted and radicalized

The killer talked with police three times during the standoff, FBI Director James B. Comey said in a televised news briefing from headquarters in Virginia on June 13. Comey said calls from the killer to law enforcement began about 2:30 a.m. During those calls, Mateen, who was born in New York, claimed allegiance to the leader of Islamic State, as well as to the perpetrators of the 2013 Boston Marathon attack and to a Florida man who died as a suicide bomber in Syria.

“These are strong indications of radicalization by this killer and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorism organizations,” Comey said.

He added that the bureau, along with state and local law enforcement, were trying to understand “every moment of the killer’s path” leading up to the shooting.

The FBI was already familiar with Mateen. In May 2013, the bureau began investigating him after co-workers said the contract security guard made inflammatory comments and claimed a family connection to al-Qaida. He was interviewed twice but the case was closed.

Two months later, Mateen’s name came up as a casual acquaintance of a Florida man who blew himself up in Syria.

“Our investigation turned up no ties of any consequence between the two of them,” Comey said. “We will continue to look forward in this investigation and backward. We will leave no stone unturned.”

According to AP, the investigation found that Mateen, the son of an Afghan immigrant, was a body builder who attended a mosque in Fort Pierce, Florida, and wanted to become a police officer.

AP also reported there were questions emerging about whether Mateen was conflicted about his sexuality. He allegedly cased Gay Days at Disney World about a week before the shooting and was seen regularly at Pulse. He apparently used gay dating apps as well.

Mateen’s first wife, from whom he was divorced, has said he was abusive and suffered from mental illness. The killer’s father said Mateen expressed a hatred of gays, recently expressing anger at seeing two men kiss.

Mateen’s father also made homophobic remarks to the press, saying that it was wrong for his son to shoot gay people because their punishment should come from God.

“While the motive behind this crime remains unclear, our resolve to live openly and proudly remains undiminished. Now is a time for the whole nation to stand together against violence,” Rea Carey, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said June 12.

Chad Griffin, the president and CEO of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “This tragedy has occurred as our community celebrates Pride, and now more than ever we must come together as a nation to affirm that love conquers hate.”

Memorials and mobilizing

Vigils took place as early as June 12 and continued for days after the shooting.

Many of the observances included a moment of silence and a reading of the victims’ names (see “The slain, next page). Many vigils ended with candleholders singing “Over the Rainbow.”

Hundreds sang, “If happy little bluebirds fly/Beyond the rainbow why, oh, why can’t I?” at the end of a vigil June 13 in Sarasota, Florida, the hometown of Edward Sotomayor Jr., who recently helped to organize the first LGBT cruise from Florida to Cuba. Sotomayor was shot while trying to get his boyfriend to safety.

Many at the Sarasota vigil called the mass shooting a hate crime and, though there were demands for stricter gun control, the focus was on anti-LGBT violence.

“This attack was with guns, but our people have been killed with knives and bombs and fists, too,” said Patricia Callahan of Lakeland, Florida. “We can’t forget.”

Vigils took place across the country, at city halls and courthouses, plazas and parks, community centers and gay bars.

“This unimaginable atrocity has not only robbed countless people of their loved ones, it has also stolen a sense of safety within the LGBTQ community,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

In New York City, many gathered outside the Stonewall Inn, considered the birthplace of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. There, they chanted, “No hate, no hate! More love, more love.”

In Wisconsin, multiple vigils took place, including in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Appleton.

There also were many memorials outside the United States. In Paris, U.S. and gay Pride flags flew at city hall and the Eiffel Tower was lit up like a rainbow.

Heads of state sent letters of condolence and issued condemnations. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said his country stands “shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters,” and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called the shooting a “senseless act of terror and hate.”

Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah urged “collective actions to end such attacks.”

At the United Nations, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein decried insufficient gun control in the United States and criticized the irresponsible pro-gun propagandizing in the country.

‘America’s rifle’

Criticism also was leveled in the United States.

The massacre is “a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship or in a movie theater or in a nightclub,” President Barack Obama said June 12, in remarks from the White House. “And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.”

Mateen was armed with the handgun and a Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle — marketed in the U.S. as a “modern sporting rifle.” He purchased it at the St. Lucie Shooting Center in Florida. Semi-automatic rifles also were used in mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; San Bernardino, California; and elsewhere. The NRA calls that weapon class “America’ rifle.”

After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, the president dedicated the start of his second term to pushing legislation that would have banned certain assault-style weapons and capped the size of ammunition clips. The effort, however, failed in the U.S. Senate due to heavy opposition from Republicans who are backed by the National Rifle Association.

In the years since, some reforms have taken place at the state level. But GOP-headed states, including Wisconsin, have enacted measures to weaken gun control laws.

On June 13, Senate Democrats renewed calls for reform and Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee for president, repeated her call to keep weapons of war off the streets and “out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals.”

Clinton and the president postponed a campaign visit to Green Bay scheduled for June 15, as the president made plans to visit Orlando on June 16 to “stand in solidarity with the community.”

 

The slain

As WiG went to press, these were the known dead in the Pulse terror attack:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Amanda Alvear, 25; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33; Antonio Davon Brown, 29; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28; Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Cory James Connell, 21; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; Paul Terrell Henry, 41; Frank Hernandez, 27; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25; Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Kimberly Morris, 37; Akyra Monet Murray, 18; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25; Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24; Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24; Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31.

 

Donations and support

Equality Florida, the statewide LGBT civil rights group, established a GoFundMe page to raise money to support those injured and the families of those killed at Pulse. Donations are accepted at www.gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund.

The Associated Press contributed to these reports.

For updates and continued coverage, go to www.wisconsingazette.com.

 

5 victims in Orlando shooting all from 1 community in Puerto Rico

Eduardo Pacheco wrote the names of every person killed in an Orlando nightclub on a bright green poster spread across the hood of a car, preparing for a vigil to the fallen. He stopped halfway, unable to go on as tears filled his eyes.

Five of the names on the list were his friends, all from the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico, an island that endured a wave of losses following the June 12 attack in the Pulse gay nightclub as it was celebrating Latin night.

Mourners young and old clutched candles and posters at the June 13 vigil in this southern coastal city, still stunned by the news.

“It was such a tremendous loss. He was such a great human being. All five of them were,” said Pacheco of his best friend, who was among those killed, and the other four victims. He said two of them were on vacation in Orlando, Florida, while the other three had moved there in recent years.

The shooting hit the close-knit LGBT community of Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second largest city on its southern coast, particularly hard. Many knew the five victims and said some had moved to Orlando to find jobs and flee a dire economic crisis that has sparked the largest exodus of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland in decades.

Many, like 25-year-old Leroy Valentin, were musicians and dancers.

Valentin had played in Ponce’s municipal band for a decade and was member of a dance group. His favorite music was reggaeton and he also admired pop singer Christina Aguilera. He had moved to Orlando two years ago but came back to Puerto Rico a couple of months ago for a surprise visit, Pacheco said.

“He was a humble, courteous person who liked to help others and was respectful,” Pacheco said.

Pacheco was among the more than 200 people who gathered at a historic plaza in Ponce to honor those killed by 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who attacked club-goers wielding an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a handgun. At least 49 people were killed and another 53 were wounded.

Fear over the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history almost caused the vigil in Ponce to be canceled, said Omar Ruiz, one of the organizers.

“A lot of people approached me because they were scared to come and thought that the same thing would happen here,” he said, adding that he called police and requested security.

Many expressed anger that the young men were seeking a better life in Orlando only to be shot dead.

“This is a hit to the democracy that they talk about so much in the United States,” said Yan Serrano Rosado, member of a human rights group in Ponce.

Prominent Puerto Rican gay rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano said his “heart is in pieces” following the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“This impacts very, very closely to the heart of the Puerto Rican LGBT community. It’s an unspeakable tragedy and it could have been any one of us,” Serrano told The Associated Press shortly after flying to Orlando to comfort grieving friends.

For years, thousands of Puerto Ricans have flocked to Orlando and other central Florida communities to pursue job opportunities. As Puerto Rico’s entrenched financial crisis has worsened over the past year, the influx has only grown and that includes LGBT citizens, activists say.

“The majority went in search of a better future,” Ruiz said. “Unfortunately, they lost their lives. Now we have to fight so that none of it was in vain. Let this gives us strength as a community.”