UTEP graduate gifted DC Comics actor ‘El Paso Strong’ shirt


Courtesy of Chantal Diaz

Jason Momoa takes a photo with fan while wearing an El Paso Strong shirt.

Margaret Cataldi, Staff Reporter

Recent UTEP graduate, Chantal Diaz, presented an “El Paso Strong” shirt to DC actor in honor of the city’s shooting victims at the Albuquerque Comic Expo on Aug. 16.  

Diaz, who graduated in May of this year with a bachelors in kinesiology, gave the shirt to Jason Momoa before posing for a picture with him at the convention. 

“At first he just draped the shirt over his chest and we took the picture,” Diaz explained, adding that their encounter was rushed. “I only had the opportunity to say thank you right after the photo.”  

To Diaz’ surprise, as she was waited to receive the printed meet and greet photos, Momoa called her back into the photo area for another picture, this time wearing the shirt. The picture quickly went viral on social media after Diaz posted it on Facebook. 

Diaz said she purchased the shirt for Momoa in the days approaching the convention in the hopes that he would accept the gift and wear it in support for the El Paso victims. 

“The El Paso shooting was something that took a toll on me,” Diaz said. “It hit me on a very personal level.”   

Momoa was not the only one who showed his support for the city, but the El Paso Victims Fund received a spike in donations shortly after the pictures of him wearing the shirt went viral.  

“It was so powerful to me to see him wearing the shirt for the rest of the day,” Diaz said. “This positively impacted the survivors and the community, and this proves that celebrity support can make a huge difference.” 

Many El Pasoans were left in a state of mourning and distress after the city’s mass shooting on Aug. 3, shaking residents to the coreAfter the initial grief and anguish, however, came the desire to unify and heal the city as a whole 

People can now find the phrase “El Paso Strong”  throughout the city’s businesses and billboardsThe phrase, which started as a hashtag, trended online and made its way onto thousands of people’s social media feed, garnering the support of many celebrities 

As an undergraduate, Diaz worked at the UTEP library for more than two years. She recently left her position at the library to work as a physical therapy technician at a local clinic. 

Diaz is currently waiting to hear back from UTEP regarding her application for the master’s program in occupational therapy.  

Margaret Cataldi may be reached at [email protected]