• Anne Royse

Make a difference after the shootings

Let's take a cue from an 11 year old Ruben Martinez in El Paso. Ruben was struggling with his feelings after the mass shooting that left now 22 people dead. He told he didn't want to go out anymore. He's afraid. She told him we can't live in fear, and encouraged him to come up with a way to make El Paso better.

Ruben came up with the #ElPasoChallenge. Let's do 22 acts of kindness. One in memory of each person who lost their life. I plan to add 9 more for the people in Dayton, for a total of 31 killed in 24 hours. I'm sharing my first below, and will include information at the end about an easy way to reach out to our political leaders asking for change.

The following was posted the following on my Instagram before I heard of the #ElPasoChallenge. I'm still smiling from the encounter.

Just beyond the gun aisle at Walmart...

Today I wore my Free Hugs T-shirt. I had to. After two mass shootings in less then 24 hours, I figured we could all use some hugs.

Each hug was a day brightner. One woman whispered in my ear, “God bless you. I needed this today.”

One of my daughters and I road tripped across the state to get her moved into college. We had to make the annual Walmart stop to grab dorm supplies.

We were talking about what happened just 24 hours ago at the Walmart in El Paso. Our conversation went silent as we approached the gun aisle... turned around we were looking for hardware.

We picked up the pace. A quiet sadness overtook us. One of my daughter’s best friends lost her roommate at the mass shooting last fall near Pepperdine in So. Cal. And another close friend lost his cousin at the same mass shooting.

Correction. They weren’t lost. They were murdered. While I’m on the subject, my daughter was born the day after a cousin was murdered. Random white young men wanting to see what it felt like to kill a real person.

We just wanted to get out of there.

The whole mood changed when three guys who could be extras in a movie about old bikers lit up with the biggest smiles and bounded up to me.

“Can I take you up on one of your hugs?”

“Absolutely!” As I have gave him a big hug, the other two reminded me of little boys eagerly waiting for the teacher’s approval. Big grins. “Come on you guys... bring it in!” They smiled big, and each gave me a sweet hug.

And there... just outside the gun aisle at Walmart, the world felt a little kinder again.

Thank you Ken Nwadike Jr for starting something special. I hope you don’t mind my borrowing your photo. I didn’t think to get one at Walmart, and you’re much better looking than me anyway. God bless you and your family.

Friends- Check out on Instagram and Google Him. I know you’ll be inspired like I am!

Before you go, there's an easier way to contact your leaders...

Download free aps for easy access to your political representatives

I read this from a friend yesterday: Download the app ePluribus. Combined with the app Unum ID, you can send verified messages to all your government reps at once, via their official email. They will know it’s you and not a bot, and you select who to send to. This app was developed by two Stanford University brothers who dropped out of college to give US a way to be truly heard. (Note that you will not be fully verified until you get a postcard in the mail with a QR code verifying your home address.)

#freehugsproject #massshooting #bloggersofinstagram #writingcommunity #LoveOneAnother #love #peace #ElPasoStrong #DaytonOhio #blog

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