Three Ways You Can Help Victims of the Uvalde Tragedy in Texas

Uvalde Shooting Victims BELatina Latinx
Image courtesy of Twitter.

Last Tuesday, nineteen children and two adults died after a shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

How much pain can a country endure? How many tragedies does it take for us to realize that the system simply isn’t working?

The horror occurred in a predominantly Latino community about 80 miles west of San Antonio, near the Mexican border. The BBC explained that Salvador Ramos, 18, shot his grandmother before fleeing her home in a battered pickup truck carrying guns and plenty of ammunition.

After driving erratically through the city, Ramos eventually crashed his car into a ditch near Robb Elementary School around 11:30 a.m., according to police.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Chris Olivarez told CNN that Ramos then forced his way into a fourth-grade classroom.

As police arrived at the scene, Ramos barricaded himself in the classroom and prepared for a showdown with law enforcement officials.

According to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, it was there that children were “shot and killed horrifically, incomprehensibly.”

The gunman was in the school for about an hour, according to police.

Ramos is believed to have purchased two semi-automatic rifles immediately after turning 18 last week.

All 21 victims of the shooting were later found in the classroom.

The massacre finally ended shortly after 1 p.m., when a nearby Border Patrol agent shot Ramos in the head. State authorities said agents had contained the gunman inside adjoining classrooms and were eventually able to breach the room where he was being held.

Solidarity in the face of misfortune

For hours, hundreds of parents, mostly Latino, anxiously waited to hear from their children as Border Patrol and ICE made their presence known, adding stress to a community persecuted by authorities.

Silently glued to the screens, many of us wondered what we could do with the pain and helplessness and how best to help.

Some of us drain our frustration on social networks; others confront those responsible directly.

However, as a community, there are many things we can do.

Support families with resources

As explained by the Texas Tribune, the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe created a page with verified fundraisers organized by family members of the shooting victims and nonprofits.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District created a bank account at First State Bank of Uvalde where people can send funds directly to the shooting victims and their families. Funds can be sent electronically through Zelle using the email robbschoolmemorialfund@gmail.com or mailed to 200 East Nopal St., Uvalde, Texas 78801. Make checks payable to “Robb School Memorial Fund.”

Similarly, the city of Uvalde created a separate fund to which people can send checks made out to “Robb School Memorial Fund” to P.O. Box 799, Uvalde, Texas 78802.

University Health San Antonio has also set up a Uvalde Victims Relief Fund for victims of the shooting and their families on its website. To donate to this fund, people should select “SP-Uvalde Victims Relief Fund” in the designation when making a one-time or recurring donation.

You can also donate blood

Moments like the Uvalde tragedy require significant community mobilization, compassion, and respect. There is no better way to demonstrate this than donating blood for victims who may need it.

As NPR explained, University Health System — the largest blood transfuser in the San Antonio area — encourages Uvalde’s community members to donate blood to hospitals and centers.

“Your donation can help ensure we have supplies immediately available for the victims of this tragic shooting,” UHS wrote on social media.

Similarly, South Texas Blood & Tissue said Tuesday that, thanks to donors, it was able to send 15 units of blood to the school and local hospitals immediately after the shooting, and another 10 to an area hospital later upon request.

The blood center is conducting an emergency blood drive in Uvalde and communicated on networks that all of its appointments were booked through Saturday. But the center stressed that help would still be needed beyond that point, added slots to its Memorial Day blood drive, and encouraged people to schedule (and keep) appointments for the following week.

Legal, mental health, and other resource support

Finally, the San Antonio Legal Services Association said it needs licensed attorneys in Texas to help families and victims of the shooting in the coming weeks, and Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales asked mental health experts to contact his office by phone to coordinate support for those affected by the tragedy.

Also, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Learning for Justice project released a letter to educators dealing with the news and their own emotions.

“I know you’re scared. I know you are watching your phone for news, thinking, This could be my school,” the “Dear Teacher” letter reads. The group also shared a sign-up link to a webinar that will provide viewers with an “understanding of trauma and how it affects both learning and relationships at school.”

As the Washington Post explained, the nonprofit Girls Inc. has also shared information for parents and guardians on how to help reassure young people in the wake of mass shootings and other tragedies.