UVALDE, Texas Hispanic members of Congress have sent a letter to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw requesting all information pertaining to the shooting at Robb Elementary School that saw 19 innocent children and two teachers killed by a mass shooter be provided in Spanish as well as English.

The members of Congress that penned the letter are Joaquin Castro, of San Antonio, Texas, Raúl M. Grijalva, of Tucson, Arizona, Norma Torres, of Ontario, California, Jesús “Chuy” García, of Chicago, Illinois, and Veronica Escobar, of El Paso, Texas.

The congressman that represents Uvalde, U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, has not yet signed the letter.

Recent reporting has detailed how Texas authorities have refused to provide public information on the shooting in Spanish, excluding many Spanish speakers from critical information and ignoring the largely Latino demographics of Uvalde, Texas,” the members of Congress said, in a joint news release. 

“Many Spanish resources on the shooting were sourced by bilingual journalists or facilitated by members of Congress including Rep. Castro. Over 81% of residents in Uvalde are Latino. According to U.S. Census Data, 55% of Uvalde residents speak Spanish at home.”

In the letter, the members of Congress urge McCraw to provide updates and future information about the mass shooting in Uvalde in Spanish and English.

“It is unconscionable that public safety officials are neglecting to provide critical information in Spanish to a predominately Spanish-speaking community. Initial claims and narratives are inconsistent, and these inconsistencies make it more crucial that accurate information is provided to all community members in their preferred language in a timely manner. As investigations continue, all Uvalde residents deserve to know the full details of this horrifying tragedy,” the members of Congress wrote. 

Rep. Castro (pictured above) said: “Uvalde’s Mexican American identity is a fundamental part of the story of this tragedy. As the community grapples with the aftermath of the shooting, Texas authorities must put their needs at the center of our state’s response. The Texas Department of Public Safety’s refusal to provide bilingual information on their investigation is insulting and wrong. I urge DPS to do the right thing and ensure that all updates are provided in both English and Spanish going forward.” 

Rep. Grijalva said: “The people of Uvalde deserve better. Refusal to share information in Spanish to a primarily Spanish speaking community shows how out of touch leaders are with this community. At a time when the worst has happened, people need to have resources and information available to them in their home language.”  

Rep. Torres said: “The people of Uvalde have a right to know all the information about the horrific shooting that took place at Robb Elementary, and those whose first language is Spanish cannot continue to be overlooked. Especially as misinformation and inconsistencies prevail, all community members deserve clear, critical public safety updates in their preferred language. English shouldn’t automatically be the default – especially in predominantly Latino communities like Uvalde – and residents shouldn’t be left in the dark by safety officials because of a language barrier.”

Rep. García said: “Imagine being a parent who lost a child and not being able to receive full and transparent information in your language. It is unconscionable that on top of the unspeakable tragedy in Uvalde, the initial information from public safety officials was primarily provided in English. The predominantly Spanish speaking community of Uvalde deserves to know the full details and Spanish-language media journalists should get straight answers from law enforcement and public officials in bothEnglish and Spanish.”

Rep. Escobar said: “The tragedy in Uvalde did not discriminate between English and Spanish speakers. The troubling amount of disinformation and misinformation surrounding the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary and gun violence more generally needs to be countered with accurate and consistent material provided by trustworthy sources in the predominate languages of the community impacted. As the main investigating agency, I urge Director McCraw and the Texas Department of Public Safety to begin accommodating the members of a minority-majority community the information they deserve in Spanish.” 

Click here to read the letter. 

Editor’s Note: We will bring readers the response from Texas DPS as soon as it becomes available. 

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro in Uvalde. (Photo credit: WFAA)

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