On August 3rd, 2019 the vibrant border community of El Paso, Texas suffered a heart-breaking mass shooting by a gunman whose actions were fueled by intolerance and hatred. While our community has risen “El Paso Strong” in solidarity, cultural chasms have been exposed as we began the process of recovery. This unthinkable event has emphasized the need for programming in resilience—adapting in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy or other significant sources of stress and finding tools to overcome those hardships. As a result, the Resilience Art Project (RAP) was created in partnership with the El Paso United Family Resiliency Center. The need for resilience has been further emphasized with challenges facing our nation, including the coronavirus pandemic and the current social unrest.
RAP was designed to stimulate dialogue, promote tolerance and cross-cultural collaboration to heal from adversity. The intent is to create a capacity building tool utilizing the arts that fosters self-expression, empowers individuals to cope and grow regardless of what they are facing. Our hope is that participants learn skills to build positive futures for themselves and our community regardless of the type of adversity they are facing. Originally developed pre-COVID19, the arrival of the pandemic required us to be resilient ourselves and adapt the program accordingly and deliver It virtually.