An 11-year-old boy from El Paso responded to the recent shooting on Aug. 3 by starting the “El Paso Challenge,” with the help of his mother. The goal of the social media campaign is to encourage people to give back and spread kindness, in order to bring about healing.
Rose Gandarilla posted a photo of her son, Ruben, on Twitter, and a picture of his plan for the El Paso Challenge. The goal: honor the people killed in their city. The idea: challenge each person in El Paso to do 20 good deeds.
Ruben jotted down a few examples such as mowing someone’s lawn, visiting a nursing home, paying for someone’s lunch or dinner, taking flowers to the hospital, or simply telling someone how great they are.
“How to convince everyone to join the El Paso challenge: Hold up posters, pass out flyers, send it to Facebook,” Ruben’s note read, as reported by CBS News. “This will show the world people from El Paso are kind and care for each other.”
Ruben’s idea was successful: In about a day, more than 1,400 people were talking about the El Paso Challenge via Twitter. Almost 3,000 people shared his mom’s Facebook post.
Many people on social media, from Texas and other areas, started pledging 20 random acts of kindness with the El Paso Challenge hashtag.
Ruben didn’t just challenge strangers on social media—he also shared his idea in person. When he was in Taco Bell with his mother, he came up to a group of people and explained the challenge.
“This courageous young man came up to us at Taco Bell and challenged us to make El Paso a better place, the challenge is to do 20 good deeds in memory of the 20 who were killed in the Walmart shooting,” El Paso native Chris Castaneda wrote on Facebook, sharing a photo of his group with Ruben. “I challenge you to fulfill this challenge and share this on your page to challenge others.”
Some on social media who took up the challenge decided to pledge 22 acts of kindness – one for each victim of the shooting that happened in an El Paso Walmart.
Prosecutors are initiating a civil rights hate crime investigation and domestic terrorism charges. They will seek the death penalty for the suspect.
Read the CBS News story here.