CNN reporter breaks down into tears recalling hate crime shooting that orphaned a baby

On Sunday’s Season 5 premiere of CNN’s United Shades of America, W. Kamau Bell tackled the subject of white supremacy in the U.S., and one of the experts he spoke with was CNN reporter Sara Sidner.

Sidner often covers stories relating to racism and racial tension. While she has been covering the racial equality protests most recently, just last year she was in El Paso covering another tragedy.

In August of 2019, a terrorist shot and killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart. Two of whom, Andre and Jordan Anchondo, were the parents of a two-month-old baby. The baby survived the ordeal, thanks to his parent’s sacrifice, but the story has weighed heavily on Sidner’s conscience.

“Thinking about that family and what they will have to tell this child, who has no idea why his mother and father are not there, because somebody hated immigrants,” said Sidner, fighting back tears. “How do you explain that?”

Sidner believes that President Trump’s racist rhetoric is emboldening white supremacists. “When that language is used by our leaders, it spreads,” said Sidner. “Hatred can grow and then turn into not just words, but then actions, and then become deadly.”

Sidner is haunted by some of the stories she covers, like the El Paso shooting. She said, “That will forever bother me.” But she also finds inspiration in the perseverance of those most affected by hate crimes.

“The families that I talk to, they give me life,” she said. “I see that they're able to function. They're able to move forward in their lives. They have no choice. They're still here. That fills me.”

United Shades of America airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on CNN.

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