What have Americans lost to the devastating gun violence that plagues this country? Is it so entrenched in our lives today that we’ve become numb to the pain that comes with every new, tragic headline? Can we not remember the heartache we felt when it happened before? Do some of us even care?
Through an absorbing visual poem written and directed by Walter Thompson-Hernandez, the Los Angeles native and Latine visionary has compiled a series of video and audio clips to offer an emotionally resonant perspective of how gun violence has affected the United States. Co-produced by Remezcla, Thompson-Hernandez created the video for the families of Uvalde, Texas, and others who have experienced the same grief.
Thompson-Hernandez’s video was edited by Fernando Bencomo and includes a score written by Malcolm Parson. Some of the words used in the piece are from the poem “Puerto Rican Obituary” by Pedro Pietri.
“Pietri helped me reflect on the complicated nature of the U.S., its widespread violence, its ongoing allure for immigrant[s] and families of color, and the cost of living and dying,” Thompson-Hernandez wrote alongside the video. “I can’t stop thinking about all the close friends and family I’ve lost to gun violence in the U.S. – five close friends, one uncle. Peace to all of them.”
Some of the content Thompson-Hernandez shares in his piece includes video and audio from outside Robb Elementary in Uvalde where 19 children and two teachers were murdered in a mass shooting in May; archival footage of Latine blue-collar workers; a performance by musician Vicente Fernandez; a boxing match featuring Julio César Chávez; clips of late Tejano star Selena Quintanilla and the woman who murdered her; and a video from an interview with Uvalde mother Kimberly Rubio, who lost her daughter Lexi in the shooting, delivering a harrowing statement that encapsulates what most Americans are feeling today: “It just keeps happening, and nobody does anything about it.”
In one word: Powerful.