Just 10 days ago, our country experienced yet another tragedy. On Aug. 3, 2019, the El Paso, Texas shooting marked the sixteenth deadly mass shooting in the United States. Twenty-two innocent lives were taken that day, and at least 24 individuals were left injured. This incident was followed the next day by the seventeenth deadly mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio with 9 victims and 27 injured.
The weight of these fatal days weighs heavy on our country as we contemplate how we got to this point. How did we become so full of hate that individuals now have to fear for their lives while going grocery shopping? Where parents have to worry about their child returning safely home from school? Where children have to grow up without parents due to senseless violence?
As the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton shootings have profoundly impacted us all, we cannot allow our sadness and fear lead to inaction or our anger turn into the wrong actions. Now is the time, more than ever, to be fueled by these feelings to make the change we want to see in our country. Now is the time to turn hatred into love and anger into compassion. Now is the time to celebrate all of the diversity that has made this country what it is. Now is the time to acknowledge what we have in common with our neighbors instead of how they are different from us. And that is exactly what the community of El Paso, Texas has decided to do.
The #ElPasoChallenge, started by 11-year-old Ruben Martinez, took an act of hatred and turned it into a country-wide movement for love. The sixth-grader challenged the town to do 22 acts of kindness to honor the individuals who are no longer with us today. Though these good deeds can never make up for the lives lost, they can begin to fill our lives and the lives of others with kindness, they can teach us how to have compassion for strangers, and they can teach communities that love is stronger than hate.
If you want to join in on this movement, today we are sharing 22 acts of kindness to do in honor of those who died in El Paso. Use #ElPasoChallenge on social media to spread awareness to others and encourage them to give back and spread kindness as well.
1. Pay for someone’s coffee.
2. Offer free hugs.
3. Text someone and tell them how much they mean to you.
4. Leave money in the parking meter.
5. Hand out water to the homeless.
6. Let someone checkout before you at the store.
7. Give a stranger a compliment.
8. Pick up any litter you see.
9. Give up your seat on the bus for a stranger.
10. Leave a generous tip for your server.
11. Offer to help a friend run errands or a colleague with their work.
12. Send a thank-you note to your local police or fire department.
13. Donate old towels and blankets to an animal shelter.
14. Spread positivity online.
15. Pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant.
16. Give away gift cards you’re not using.
17. Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
18. Offer to help someone with heavy bags.
19. Bake your neighbors a treat.
20. Leave sticky notes with positive comments around your office or apartment building.
21. Bring someone a book you think they’d like.
22. Offer to return a stranger’s grocery cart to the front of the store.
These are just some ideas to get you started. Just a reminder that they don’t have to be grand gestures, even small acts of kindness will do.
If you want to do more and be a part of putting an end to gun violence in our country, look into donating to organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety whose mission is to build safer communities throughout America.