San Diego

San Diego Stands With El Paso at Balboa Park Vigil for Shooting Victims

Dozens of San Diegans paid tribute to each of the 22 victims killed in a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas Walmart at a vigil at Balboa Park on Sunday. 

One by one, supporters outside of the Centro Cultural de la Raza read the names of the victims who died last Saturday when a shooter opened fire inside a Walmart store in the border town.

“We just wanted to get together and do something for the community to start healing and to help with some of the hurt that we know a lot of people are having in this area," said Jessica Yanez-Perez, one of many who organized the vigil.

Prayers were read as gatherers held candles and posters with messages of support like "El Paso Strong" and "Peace be with us all." 

The message at the vigil Sunday night was, San Diego is El Paso. Both are border towns with diverse populations and the people here wanted the victims, their families and community to know they stand with them.

“It's a sense of community, a sense that people come together, like we do at funerals. We come together, to mourn together, support each other, raise each other," said Maria Zuniga, a speaker at the vigil.

Zuniga, a retired professor of social work, said she trained social workers on how to help people deal with grief. She said some in the Hispanic community may feel targeted after last weekend's shooting in El Paso, so it is important to talk to kids about how they are feeling. 


“It’s important for people to know how to talk to their kids, how to process their fears because in a border city like this the idea of us being targeted is very real and for kids it's probably something they think about," said Zuniga.

The people who spoke at the vigil stressed getting involved in the community, volunteering and being kind to one another.

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