SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Rhetoric and actions are producing a powerful reaction to the recent mass shootings here in California and two other states.
The crimes happened so quickly and so close together, there's barely time to process what happened, before developing a reaction to what happened. Increasingly in the Latin community, that feeling is fear.
"As a result of these shootings, there's greater fear within the Latino community as well as the immigrant community as a whole," said Priya Murthy, a policy and advocacy director for the Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network, or SIREN.
She says in all of the recent mass shootings – Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, many of the victims were Latin. This comes at a time when members of that community feel like they're being targeted. Experts say negative attention coming from Washington rhetoric, coupled with policy action such as ICE raids, have many Americans on edge.
"There's definitely a broader frame that's being set by Washington, DC that says people who come from different backgrounds are a threat to the united states," she said.
"There are a lot of communities on edge," says Zahra Billoo, the SF-Bay Area executive director of CAIR. "I wish I could say that for the Muslim community, being on edge feeling like we're being watched is very much a feeling of the past. It is a thing of the present."
After 9/11, Billoo said many Muslims felt a backlash of hate. Now she empathizes with the Latin community as its members deal with grief and fear following acts of mass violence, which she says are fueled by white supremacy.
"I think it's really important that now, people turn to their neighbors and their communities," said Billoo.
Murthy added, "Everyone has the right to feel safe here…"
But both women say the difference between having that right and enjoying it is vast when it feels as though violence and fear are targeting specific groups.