This year’s Texas Tribune Festival will prominently feature a number of El Pasoans, including an El Paso Matters-produced conversation on the challenges faced by Texas communities as they recover from mass shootings.

The festival, which features numerous national and state political and media figures, will be Sept. 22-24 in Austin. It is being held in person for the first time since 2019.

“The Aftermath,” the Sept. 24 panel discussion produced by El Paso Matters, will feature people who have led Texas communities through recovery after mass shootings. Panelists include Deborah Zuloaga, CEO of United Way of El Paso County; Mary Beth Fisk, CEO of the San Antonio-based Ecumenical Center; and Jaquelyn Poteet of Innovative Alternatives.

Deborah Zuloaga

Zuloaga played a leading role in establishing the El Paso United Resiliency Center following the 2019 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart. The Ecumenical Center has provided mental health services following the 2017 shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and is doing the same for victims of this year’s deadly attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Innovative Alternatives operates a resiliency center helping people affected by the 2018 mass shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston.

“A number of Texas communities have been altered by mass shootings in recent years, and others are likely to face similar trauma in the coming weeks, months and years,” said Robert Moore, CEO of El Paso Matters and the moderator of the panel. “This conversation will explore how communities recover from mass shootings, or even if they can.”

Other El Pasoans who will appear on panels at the three-day festival include Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, Mayor Oscar Leeser, state Sen. César Blanco, and state Reps. Mary González and Joe Moody. Jacob Fraire, the new director of policy and strategy at the Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Student Success at the University of Texas at El Paso, also is a panelist.

El Paso-based journalists moderating panel discussions at the festival include Zahira Torres, Senior Editor for the ProPublica-Texas Tribune Investigative Unit; Perla Trevizo, reporter for the ProPublica-Texas Tribune Investigative Unit; and Alfredo Corchado, Mexico and border correspondent for the Dallas Morning News.

Admission to the festival is $215 for Texas Tribune members and $265 for the general public. Students and educators can get tickets for $50.