April 13, 2016
SEARAC Mourns for Vue, Manso-Perez Families, Calls City of Milwaukee and National Political Figures to Task
By: Diverse Elders

In March 2016, a gunman killed three people in Milwaukee, WI, telling them before the killing, “You guys got to go.” Initial reports indicate that the shooter deliberately targeted the families because they were immigrants. Our member organization, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), put out a press release shortly after the murders, condemning the killing and asking the nation to take better care of its immigrant families.

Since the press release (bel0w), the Milwaukee police have begun meeting with the Hmong community to discuss crime and safety — something that has never happened before. There is also a petition you can sign that asks the judge to prosecute the murders as a hate crime. We stand with SEARAC in mourning this tragic loss of life and stand with our members and allies working to eliminate xenophobic violence and rhetoric. This press release originally appeared on the SEARAC website.

 SEARAC Mourns for Vue, Manso-Perez Families, Calls City of Milwaukee and National Political Figures to Task

SEARAC mourns for the families of Jesus R. Manso-Perez and of Phia Vue and his wife Mai K. Vue, who were senselessly murdered in front of their four children on March 6. Initial reports indicate that the shooter deliberately targeted Mr. Manso-Perez and the Vue family because they were immigrants.

We support local community organizations like the Hmong American Women’s Association that are making sure not only that the shooter will be brought to justice, but that the Vue children and their extended family have the resources they need to move forward from this unthinkable tragedy.

Milwaukee’s murder rate has spiked to its highest rate in ten years, and the majority of those impacted by violent crime in the city are people of color. Milwaukee is one of the most economically and racially segregated cities in the country, and violent tragedies like this have become a terrible new “norm” for the city’s communities of color. Milwaukee’s public officials must take immediate action to address this crisis of violence in close cooperation with the communities most impacted by it.

But the tragedy must also be understood in the context of an increasingly permissive national political environment that has emboldened those who harbor xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments. In the minds of individuals who are already disturbed, these sentiments can be deadly. We must all emphatically reject hate speech against immigrants, Muslims, and people of color. We must also reject national figures who harness the dark energy of racism in the cynical pursuit of self-promotion and fame.

For those who wish to support the Vue children, please consider making a monetary donation at https://www.gofundme.com/tmt6st7f. Those who would like to send donation items can mail them to the Hmong American Women’s Association at 9235 W. Capitol Drive, Suite 414, Milwaukee, WI 53222.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.