More than 7,000 people packed Downtown and Ponder Park on the Eastside Wednesday evening to remember the 22 victims of the Aug. 3 mass shooting and support those who were injured.
“We know that we will not be defeated by this cowardly act of aggression,” Bishop Mark Seitz said in the opening convocation. “We will not allow hatred, we will not allow fear, we will not allow prejudice based upon the color of our skin, or the language that we speak, or the nation of our origin, or any other false and contrive distinction to separate us from one another.”
The memorial gathering began 7 p.m. at Southwest University Park in Downtown and was simulcast at three satellite locations: the El Paso Convention Center, Cleveland Square Park and Ponder Park.
In his remarks, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the rest of Texas and the nation have been inspired by how El Paso has responded to the attack at the Cielo Vista Walmart.
“We have watched in awe at the outpouring of compassion that has filled this entire community,” Abbott said.
Jesus Seade, undersecretary for North America in Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pledged his support for efforts to combat racism and white supremacy.
“It is my duty to tell you all on behalf of the government of Mexico that we firmly condemn this tragedy and will not rest until actions are taken so it never repeats itself,” he said.
Seade also highlighted the contributions of the 60 million Hispanics living in the United States, saying there are 4.4 million Hispanic-owned enterprises that contribute more than $700 billion to the U.S. economy every year.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said that the city will be defined by the actions of its people, praising the courage of first responders, the heroism of those in the Walmart who put others before themselves, the actions of doctors and nurses who save lives and the compassion of those who stood in lines for hours to give blood.
“Since taking office, I have always said El Paso is an unknown jewel that people do not understand until they see it firsthand,” Margo said. “Well, the world just got a preview of our courage, our love and our strength.”