Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Recent Tragedies Hit Home for EWA

Jay Torres, 57, was killed in Garland, Texas, this week. He was an inaugural member of EWA's annual Spanish-language media convening and beloved by many as a respected journalist and photographer in the Forth Worth area. Source: Rebecca Aguilar (Used with permission)

It feels like we were just in Orlando at Valencia College, sharing a campus with seven students who lost their lives early Sunday morning in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. 

Last September, EWA hosted its annual Spanish-language media convening and higher education seminar at Valencia College, where Amanda Alvear, Oscar A. Arancena-Montero, Cory James Connell, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Jason Benjamin Josaphat and Luis Omar Ocasio-Cap all attended school. Their majors included nursing, hospitality and theater, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Shooter Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, on Latin night, “which was frequented by those who loved Latin music and Latin dancing whether they identified as queer or not,” according to The Guardian. More than 90 percent of the victims were Hispanic. Many were students.

Another tragedy struck this week as well. EWA received word last night that Jay Torres, a 57-year-old freelance journalist and photographer for La Estrella, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Spanish-language publication, was shot in Garland, Texas over the weekend. His death is being investigated as a homicide.

Torres, whose full name was Jacinto Hernandez Torres, attended EWA’s inaugural Spanish-language media convening in Dallas in 2014, where he documented the day with beautiful pictures from his camera. I sat next to him at lunch and remember his friendliness very well. Just a couple weeks ago we were emailing about this year’s event. 

His son wrote on Facebook Tuesday, ”We would appreciate any posts of pictures of Jay Torres. He spent a lot of time behind the lens and we would like to see more of him in front of it. We would like to thank all of the support and prayers.”

Today, EWA is remembering Torres, the Valencia students and their fellow victims — all gone from this world too soon.