Texas’ state flower: the bluebonnet
“So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain: Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.” -Amanda Gorman
I’ve been writing for this blog just for a few months. Traditionally the writer has remained anonymous. There certainly has been no need to mention my name when interviewing professionals or discussing holidays. But today, I am breaking from this standard. I cannot separate myself from the sorrow our nation is feeling. My name is Bre, and like you, I’m devastated.
A tragedy impossible to conceive, yet much too familiar, occurred on Tuesday. A gunman entered Robb Elementary and took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. The community of Uvalde, Texas was senselessly robbed of these loved ones, and has been left to mourn. It was the second most deadly elementary school shooting in our nation.
The fact that “elementary school shooting” is now a category makes me feel sick. I remember when the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary happened in 2012. When I learned of it, I was a senior in high school sitting in my American History class. My teacher was the varsity basketball coach, a very tall and broad man who loved to talk about The Godfather. I never thought I would see him cry, but he did. He cried for the lost children in Connecticut, calling them “just babies.” As I listened to him, I remember tears in my eyes and a rock in the pit of my stomach. I hoped to never feel that rock again, but I felt it again on Tuesday night.
Opening my phone after a long day, I began to see references to the shooting on social media. I didn’t want to believe it had happened again. I almost shut off my phone before reading the details. Selfishly, I didn’t want to face the reality. But I knew I had to. I wept as I read about the lost babies and the brave teachers. I cried for the children who survived, but witnessed such terror. I cried for the families of the lost. I cried along with the rest of our country.
I wish I could say that I haven’t had this experience since 2012, but it isn’t true. Every rampage shooting, every innocent life taken by gun violence, has broken my heart over and over again. They have broken our country’s heart over and over again. Just earlier this month in Buffalo, New York, a racially charged shooting took the lives of 10 people in a grocery store. It was a targeted attack on the black community. It was pure evil. These acts are fueled by violence and hatred; two concepts that should have no place in our country. We are left mourning and fearing for the safety of our loved ones with every gun violence tragedy.
We at DEPCO stand with Uvalde. We at DEPCO stand with all those who have lost their loved ones to violence.
Ways to Help
One of the worst things about these incidents is how helpless we as a society feel. What can we do for these families and communities?
-For Uvalde specifically, you can view this list of verified gofundme pages to donate directly to the affected families. Unexpected funeral expenses and other concerns are weighing down on them. You can help ease the financial burden with the click of a button.
-Robb Elementary has also opened up an official account with First State Bank for donations to the families. This is an option where you can mail in your donation and it will be distributed where it’s needed most.
-There are also verified gofundme pages for the families of the victims in Buffalo, NY that you can donate to. They, like the victims of Uvalde, need our help.
-Call your senator. Communicate with them what policies you want to see put in effect in order to further protect our citizens.
-Take a look at Mental Health First Aid‘s website to find a plethora of mental health resources. You can help yourself and others around you by recognizing and normalizing mental health treatment. Many of us suffer from a myriad of mental health issues. Bringing attention to these struggles improves lives and communities. If you are comfortable talking about your own mental health journey, share it with a friend or on social media. You never know who you may help and inspire.
Don’t let yourself become used to violence. Don’t become jaded towards senseless death. Please, don’t look away. Don’t shut off your phone, as I almost did. Feel along with everyone else, and turn those feelings into convictions.
-Written by Bre Cowley-Baker, Technical Writer at DEPCO Enterprises