A mother and son have taken to social media in a fight against hate.
Rose Gandarilla and her son, Ruben, started the #ElPasoChallenge on Twitter with a simple idea in mind: spread kindness during a time of hate and violence.
Gandarilla, a school administrator, wrote on Twitter that her son came to her with an idea. He wanted to challenge all El Paso residents to do 22 random acts of kindness — one action for every person killed in the El Paso mass shooting that happened Saturday.
The tweet has started gathering attention since it was posted Sunday night.
Commenters were elated with the idea and remarked how wonderful her son must be, with one person saying, "Way to go kiddo! There is HOPE for the future and it starts with you!" and another said, "This will remain with me all day.......what kindness."
My 11 year old came to me with an idea. #elpasoCHALLENGE He challenges ALL El Pasoans to commit 20 Random Acts of Kindness. One for every person that was killed in our city’s mass shooting. Let’s get this done El Paso. @abc7breaking @kels1142 @YsletaISD @EPPOLICE @elpasoisd pic.twitter.com/pvy5Q9G4f6
— Rose (@rgandarilla99) August 5, 2019
El Paso has been reeling since the shooting Saturday that left 20 dead and more than two dozen wounded. But the community has come together in various ways, holding multiple vigils and reaching out to those in need.
“Pretty tough, but all we can do now is remain together and don’t change who we are as people,” said Bishop Jesus Ibarra, as he wiped away his tears. He held a special mass Sunday at La Paz Faith Memorial and Spiritual Center in El Paso.
Perches Funeral Home, which is part of the La Paz Faith church, is working to help the families of the victims.
“Everyone is putting their own part, so we are going to be offering the family free services for their loved ones,” said Jorge Ortiz with the funeral home.
Ortiz says the El Paso community is based off love and unity, and love is needed more than ever in El Paso.
“Without love, there is nothing,” Ibarra said. “We are nothing.”
Gandarilla, a lifelong El Paso resident, echoed those sentiments, saying "hate will not define us."
"Love and kindness will prevail and remind the world what El Paso stands for," the 43-year-old mother said.
Her 11-year-old son also had a simple message he wanted to share: "be kind to each other all day every day.”
Tomas Hoppough with the E.W. Scripps national team contributed to this report.