Things That Matter

Here’s How One 11-Year-Old El Paso Resident Is Trying to Bring Some Positive Light After A Horrible Mass Shooting

Ruben Martinez is an 11-year-old kid from El Paso, Texas and the shooting this past weekend impacted him like all Texans. He’s community was just attacked and his mother had to sit him down and explain what had happened. It was then that he knew he had to do something to help his community heal. His idea: the #ElPasoChallenge. Here’s what you need to know to participate.

On the morning of August 3, a white supremacist went to El Paso with the intention of shooting as many Mexicans as he could.

Credit: El Paso Police Department

Patrick Crusius, 21, entered a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas and opened fire on shoppers. He killed 22 people and injured 24 with an assault rifle. The violent attack left the Latino community in fear when it was revealed that Crusius had traveled to El Paso to exact his act of terror on the Latino community.

While the community was grieving, 11-year-old Ruben Martinez went to his room and brainstormed a way to bring the people of El Paso together.

Credit: @rgandarilla99 / Twitter

Martinez’s idea is a challenge to promote kindness. He wants El Pasoans to commit one act of kindness for each person who was killed during the tragic shooting. The #ElPasoChallenge is that simple. Just help other people in the name and memory of the people who were murdered by a domestic terrorist.

If you aren’t sure how you can join, Martinez has laid out a few ways to do good for people.

Credit: @rgandarilla99 / Twitter

Here is what Martinez wrote to start his mission to help his community heal.

“#elpasoCHALLENGE”

“Purpose: To honor the people who got killed in our city.”

“How: I’ll challenge each person in El Paso to do 20 good deeds for each other.”

“Examples: Mow someone’s lawn, visit a nursing home, pay for someone’s lunch or dinner, donate to families in need, write someone a letter and tell them how great they are, hold the door for everyone, comfort someone when they are sad or stressed, take flowers to someone in the hospital, leave a dollar on the vending machine for the next person, and any other random act of kindness.”

“How to convince everyone to join the #elpasoCHALLENGE: Hold up posters, pass out flyers, sent it to Facebook.”

“This will show the world that people from El Paso, TX are kind and care for each other.”

The call to action from a child is pulling all of the heartstrings.

Credit: @summerprj / Twitter

“He was having some trouble dealing with what happened,” Gandarilla told CNN. “I explained to him that we could not live in fear and that people in our community are caring and loving. I told him to try and think of something he could do to make El Paso a little better.”

Gandarilla also proudly shared that her son already started on his acts of kindness.

Credit: @GynarchyLove / Twitter

“Last night, he agree(d) to go out to do his first act of kindness,” Gandarilla told CNN. “He chose to go deliver dinner to our first responders.”

The #elpasoCHALLENGE is reaching far out of Texas with people across the country joining the challenge.

Credit: @stlagogo / Twitter

The challenge might have been intended for the El Paso community, but it seems people all over want to make a difference. Martinez’s sweet and well-meaning gesture is something more of us should be trying to do in this world.

Way to go, Ruben! Your plan to spread the #elpasoCHALLENGE is working.

Credit: @HackeMom / Twitter

Let us know if you are joining Martinez’s #elpasoCHALLENGE. This kind of action from young people is so important in today’s dark and scary world.

READ: After A Mass Shooting In El Paso, ‘Amor Eterno’ Becomes An Anthem Bringing Latinx Communities Together

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Former Texas State Senate Candidate Says She Was ‘Tortured’ in a Hotel Room After a Violent Ambush

Things That Matter

Former Texas State Senate Candidate Says She Was ‘Tortured’ in a Hotel Room After a Violent Ambush

Photo: Vanessa Tijerina/Facebook

Texas police are currently trying to get to the bottom of a disturbing incident that happened in Raymondville on Monday.

Former Republican candidate for Texas state Senate, Vanessa Tijerina, posted a shocking 10-minute Facebook Live video detailing the brutal assault she experienced in a nearby hotel on Monday.

Tijerina appeared in the video with her face looking unrecognizable. She had two black eyes–both of which were swollen almost completely shut.

Her face was covered in bruises. Her speech was impaired from how much swelling she was experiencing. It looked–to be blunt–like she had been beaten to a pulp.

Through tears, Tijerina explained to her followers that she was lured to a hotel room by some unnamed assailants who led her to believe they had “something really really really important” to tell her that they couldn’t tell her over the phone.

But once she was alone in the hotel room, the assailants “gagged, bound [and] tortured” her.

“I was beaten. I was terrorized, bound, gagged, tortured,” she said in the Facebook Live video.

“I never fought back because I knew that if I fought back, it would’ve been worse and I probably wasn’t going to survive. And I needed to survive for my daughters.”

Although a motive for the assault hasn’t yet been established, Tijerina is a relatively high-profile figure in Texas’s Raymondville community. She is active on social media and regularly goes on Facebook live to engage with her followers and supporters. And with her high profile comes a litany of critics and haters who have created troll accounts with the express purpose of smearing her.

Despite all this, Tijerina refutes the rumors that she “did something” to motivate the beating.

“There was nothing that I did that made this okay for this to happen to me,” she said. Tijerina began to get increasingly more emotional as she talked about her children and the fact that she was not able to give her children the toys she bought them for Christmas.

So far, Raymondville police have arrested three suspects in connection to the assault: Amanda Salinas, Ariel Jamie Vela and Ramon Donato Santana Jr. As for who was on the phone giving orders at the time of the assault, police are still looking for answers.

As of this writing, the police have not yet publicly revealed a motive. But since her attack, Tijerina has again taken to her Facebook page to assert that the assault was “100% motivated by hate.”

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4-Year-Old is Rescued By First Responders After Being Trapped in a Well For 6 Hours; ‘It’s a Christmas Miracle’

Things That Matter

4-Year-Old is Rescued By First Responders After Being Trapped in a Well For 6 Hours; ‘It’s a Christmas Miracle’

Photo courtesy of City of Mission, TX

On December 8th, a 4-year-old boy in Garceño, Texas was rescued from an 8-inch wide well after accidentally falling into it. According to the authorities in Mission, Texas, the boy was rescued by first responders who worked tirelessly over a six hour period to dig the boy out.

According to reports, the authorities responded to an emergency call at 4:40 p.m that explained that the 4-year-old had fallen down a well at a ranch property in Garceño.

The stunning rescue was captured on video for the world to see.

“So proud of our Mission firefighters & all 1st responders that rescued the child after 6 long hrs,” the City of Mission wrote on Twitter. “Pit was only 8-10 inches in diameter. It’s a Christmas miracle!”

The video shows the final moments of the rescue. Onlookers applauded as first responders lifted the boy out of the hole.

Authorities reported that the boy was flown to hospital to undergo testing after his harrowing ordeal. He is reportedly in stable condition.

The day after the boy’s rescue, Sheriff Rene “Orta” Fuentes took to Facebook to express his gratitude to the Starr County community, naming every first responder who had a hand in rescuing the unnamed boy.

“Last night proved to be a testament of our community and neighboring communities’ unity and sincere concern for each other,” wrote Sheriff Fuentes. “Through prayers and actions from everyone involved a little boy lives today.”

The city of Mission also tweeted out videos and photos, calling the rescue a “Christmas Miracle”.

According to Robert Alvarez, the assistant fire chief of the town’s Fire Department, a crew trained in “trench rescues” was sent to the scene.

According to local authorities, the rescue team dug a hole in the ground parallel to where the boy was trapped. When the second hole was deep enough, the team chiseled away at the ground until they were able to break through the wall of where the boy was trapped.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Alvarez says that the child’s welfare was of the utmost priority. “The biggest thing that we were trying to make sure was that the operation was done safely,” he told USA Today.

This is a happy ending to an ordeal that could have ended in tragedy. We’re happy that this little boy and his family are able to celebrate the holidays together, safe and sound.

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