On August 3, 2019, a normal shopping day at a local Walmart and mall in El Paso, Texas, became anything but when a gunman opened fire. As of this writing, there have been twenty casualties and twenty-six people injured, as confirmed by El Paso officials. Not 24 hours later, another gunman shot and killed nine, including his sister, and wounded 27 more in a popular nightlife area of Dayton, Ohio. Earlier this week, July 28th, three people were killed, and twelve injured at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California when a gunman snuck in and opened fire.
The El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy communities, and those around the country and the world, are still in shock and in pain. Tragedies such as this can leave us feeling helpless and scared, but there are ways you can help those affected.
If You Have Been Directly or Indirectly Impacted:
- Check in with your loved ones and friends, and mark yourself as safe on social media if you’re able to.
- Use local resources that may be applicable.
- Reach out to others, letting them know how they can help you, even if it’s just listening or giving you a hug.
- Reach out to IMAlive, an anonymous online chat service, if you’re in need of a trained crisis response volunteer. There is no shame in needing help in order to process what’s happening.
- Take care of yourself in the aftermath. Hydrate, take breaks to relax, eat regularly, take your medications and practice other forms of self-care. You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
- Try your best to maintain as normal a routine as possible. Getting back to a semblance of normal can be daunting in the wake of tragedy, but take it one step at a time.
How to Help Others:
- Check in with your friends, neighbors, family and others who may be upset, scared or hurt. Keep in mind that even if you weren’t in the affected communities, others around you may have family or friends who were.
- Be there to listen to those affected and ask how you can support and comfort them. Focus on creating a safe space for expression and recovery for those hurting from this.
- Donate blood if you’re able to. El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy police have stated the areas are in need of ongoing blood donations for victims. If you are local, you can donate directly in Dayton, El Paso and Gilroy. If you are not local, you can still donate blood to assist with national blood shortage. Check the Red Cross website for locations where you can donate.
- Donate directly to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund set up by the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation, shared by both the El Paso Police Department and the City of El Paso.
- Donate directly to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund through the Dayton Foundation.
- Donate directly to the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund through the Gilroy Foundation.
- Donate your time, money or other resources to organizations in your area. These include local community centers, victim support organizations, mental health, and crisis response organizations, etc.
- Be patient. Be gentle. Be kind.
It can be hard to remain calm when we see tragedies like this in the news, even if we are not directly impacted ourselves. If you find yourself struggling and need someone, reach out to IMAlive to anonymously chat with a trained volunteer.
Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy communities.