In the aftermath of the October 1 tragedy in 2017, the people of Southern Nevada created the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden, a unique response to the grief of those who lost family and friends and the many thousands whose lives were forever changed.
To commemorate the second anniversary of 1 October, Get Outdoors Nevada, the City of Las Vegas, and the UNLV University Libraries Oral History Research Center, in partnership with the University of Nevada Press, have published Healing Las Vegas: The Las Vegas Community Healing Garden in Response to the 1 October Tragedy.
The book tells the story of the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden in the pictures and words of the survivors, volunteers, and local community members who helped create an oasis of hope, love, and compassion that can serve as a model for other places in need of healing. It showcases how one community chose hope over hate and unity over despair as it built a beautiful place of healing and remembrance.
Together, co-editors Stefani Evans and Donna McAleer read through more than 75 oral histories collected as part of the Remembering 1 October project at UNLV University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives. The interviews conducted by Claytee White, director of the UNLV Oral History Research Center, and oral historian Barbara Tabach, include voices of survivors, first responders, family members, medical professionals, counselors, and community volunteers. These oral histories provide the quotes that tell the story of a community coming together at its darkest moment.
Each quote is illustrated by photographs that depict how, in only a matter of days, volunteers and local businesses transformed a vacant downtown lot into a serene urban oasis. The garden continually evolves as visitors leave behind colorful mementos, painted rocks, photographs, and ornaments as well as words of encouragement, love, loss, and strength.
Evans is an oral historian in the UNLV Oral History Research Center and is finishing her doctoral degree in history at UNLV. McAleer is director of publications emerita at UNLV
Commemorative events for the book’s launch will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Barnes and Noble at 567 North Stephanie Street in Henderson,and on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 9:30 a.m during the Las Vegas Book Festival at the Historic Fifth Street School in Downtown Las Vegas.
Healing Las Vegas: The Las Vegas Community Healing Garden in Response to the 1 October Tragedy is on sale through the University of Nevada Press, Amazon, and local Barnes and Noble stores. All royalties from the sale of the book will go to the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden