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Austin holds its arm out at blood drive to honor Uvalde

People sit in a line of chairs near a sign that says, "Blood Drive Today."
Gabriel C. Pérez
People wait in line to donate blood outside the state Capitol on Thursday. The blood drive was organized by We Are Blood in response to the Uvalde school shooting.

The line of people waiting to donate blood in response to the Uvalde school shooting wrapped around the block at the Capitol on Thursday.

“We couldn’t go and hug everyone in Uvalde during this,” said AT&T Texas President Leslie Ward, who helped plan the donation drive with We Are Blood, the Central Texas blood supplier. “So we wanted to have a way to help and hold our arm out and show them that we’re in solidarity with them.”

Those donating blood echoed her sentiments.

“You know we can’t drive down there right now,” Yliana Lara, an Austinite who works with children, said while struggling to hold back tears. “All of us are expected to still just go to work … and it just kind of feels unfair to be here, so it’s the least I could do.”

Though the City of Uvalde has not yet requested blood from the region, organizers wanted to ensure the local blood supply is stable enough to allow Central Texas to donate if called upon. After a mass shooting in downtown Austin last June, blood from the South Texas supplier, which includes donations from Uvalde, were sent here.

Find more ways to help the Uvalde community, such as donating to fundraisers here.

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