Brothers and alumni from the Beta Chapter and the Greater El Paso Alumni Association gathered with purpose in the wake of one of the country’s latest mass shootings that left 22 people dead and 24 others suffering from injuries. August 3rd forever changed the landscape of the border city in Texas and the community, El Paso Strong, came together in unity and solidarity to mourn their dead and to outright reject the hatred and division sowed that was the culprit of this outburst of gun violence at the hands of a White supremacist.
In the wake of the tragedy, many of the wounded were transported to area hospitals and a call for blood donations was made by area physicians and those working the aftermath of the shooting. El Pasoans flooded the blood donation centers and were quick to answer the call to serving and saving lives. The brothers in El Paso, TX gathered and began brainstorming on ideas to see how they could help and join the efforts in standing in solidarity with their city.
Brothers, undergraduates at the University of Texas at El Paso and members of the Beta Chapter, along with the Greater El Paso Alumni Association saw the way their city responded to this call to action and were in awe when they saw lines of willing blood donors, in droves, start to form at the donation centers.
“We found out that blood banks were going to be open for a long time, people were lining up to donate and were waiting in line for a long time. We decided that we would give back to our community and to do our part to stand in solidarity with El Paso and its people” said Jonathan Contreras, undergraduate and initiate of the Beta Chapter at UTEP.
Community was essential in the aftermath of the shooting, the brothers in El Paso were able to contribute to that by showing up and supporting in whichever way they could. The brothers collected donations from area alumni, brothers from both the Beta Chapter and the El Paso Alumni Association as well as members of the community. They were able to purchase 700 bottles of water, 500 bags of chips, and a great variety of snacks and sandwiches.
The brothers hit the donation center lines and started handing out drinks and snacks to the many people standing in line, waiting to donate blood and answering the call of first responders and physicians. Many of the people in line had been waiting for hours to donate blood, a sacrifice many were willing to make knowing how dire the situation was and how much of an impact their contribution would have. A shooter fired indiscriminately, aiming to take as many lives as possible and here these individuals were, in line, ready to save as many lives as possible.
“After seeing the community of this city come together, it was an eye opener to many of us that El Paso really is a place like no other. Once they saw us arrive with snacks and drinks in hand, the community was very appreciative; they saw that we were rising as one front, one city, against the hatred and evil that the shooter tried to unleash. That is the spirit of El Paso Strong” finalized brother Contreras.
Keith Diaz, an alum of the Beta Chapter at UTEP stated that “It was awesome to see the community come together after such a tragedy. Being able to give back genuinely made us feel great. We were able to help those also giving back to the community. I think it just felt like a collective effort”.