As the one-year mark of August 3rd approaches, the El Paso United Family Resiliency Center (FRC), the County of El Paso, the City of El Paso and other partners, including the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Mexican Consulate in El Paso and Interfaith Alliance of the Southwest, aim to unite El Pasoans to honor those lost and care for those deeply impacted.
As partners, the leading entities have initiated “Together We Remember, Together We Heal,” a series of activities to promote community-wide healing and to honor the individuals and families impacted by the mass casualty event.
The activities, which take into consideration social distancing guidelines, begin Thursday, July 9 and stretch into Monday, August 3.
From a luminaria drive-thru at Ascarate Park to a virtual trauma-informed yoga hour, the activities include public and at-home activities for all ages.
For a list of all the activities across the county, residents can visit the El Paso United website.
Recognizing the trauma associated with the tragedy, community leaders want to urge the residents during this time to focus on their mental health and that of family and friends.
“We know that there is no timeline when it comes to the grieving process, whether someone was directly or indirectly impacted by the tragedy,” said Christina Lamour, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way. “Healing and recovery looks different for everyone and with that in mind, we want to offer El Pasoans outlets that allow them to reflect, but more importantly, find strength in their community.”
In addition to the series of events, El Paso County is also scheduled to read a resolution that marks August 3rd as a Day of Remembrance and encourages acts of kindness. T
he County is also in the process of laying the groundwork for a Community Healing Garden and Memorial at Ascarate Park.
“Last year’s event has forever changed the lives of residents throughout the community and the borderland,” said County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. “Together with our partners, we want to play an active role in spreading kindness and building our resiliency as part of this ongoing recovery process.”
Meanwhile the City, through the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, will focus commemorative efforts on physical and virtual memorials that the public can view to pay their respects.
“El Paso will not be defined by a single act of hate. We will be remembered for how we came together, and continue to support one another through times of adversity,” said Mayor Dee Margo.
Below are the remarks made by County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego earlier today. To view a recording of the press conference please click here
As we approach our first year anniversary, we are reminded of how our community came together during one of the most tragic and lasting events that our community has ever faced. As you are aware, we are now confronted with another enemy. An invisible enemy that has forced us to isolate as a means to fight. Although we will have restrictions, we will make every effort to display our sincerity and passion to memorialize this special occasion. We will endure with the same courage and boldness that our community showed on August 3rd.
I would also like to take the opportunity, to thank all of our brave heroes who stepped forth on that horrible and tragic day. There are so many individuals who played a critical role on August 3rd, but at this time I’d like to thank the Office of Emergency Management, United Way, Emergence Health Network, the El Paso Community Foundation, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, our District Attorney Jaime Esparza and his entire team for their victim advocacy, and most importantly our healthcare workers, and our first responders who were on the frontlines.
The County is looking forward to the groundbreaking of a Community Healing Garden on August 2, 2020 in conjunction with JAR Construction. Our hope is to create a beautiful place where we can all go to continue our search for our own individual comfort and healing. Once completed, we will initiate activities such as mediation, yoga and other opportunities to enhance the physical memorial, as well as enrich the individual healing process. The groundbreaking will be followed by a private service which will be hosted by Bishop Mark Seitz and Interfaith Alliance of the Southwest.
I’d like to offer a special thanks to each one of our County Commissioners and their amazing staff for their valued support, as well as our Chief Administrator, Betsy Keller, and our Parks and Recreation team for their hard work, creativity, and compassion to bring this special project to fruition.
On August 2nd, Ascarate Park will open to the public at 8:30pm for a Drive-Thru Luminaria Remembrance event which will be hosted by United Way of El Paso County. Fortunately, Ascarate Park lends itself for the community to be united, but in a safe way in accordance with our current restrictions. The park will be open on August 3rd to the community to view the luminaria’s once more. We are doing everything possible to make both of these days special for the community.
These events commemorate the courage of our community. May these heartfelt efforts from all our partners provide some sense of comfort and peace for all of us. My prayers are with the families and everyone who was impacted on that day, and who have to re-live the nightmare of August 3rd and who are struggling to find some level of acceptance.
More now than ever, this first anniversary will once again urge us to creatively unite and be El Paso Strong. -County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego
If you are interested in making a donation to help fund the Community Healing Garden, click here