Organization founded by Chris DiGiano ’90 commemorates six months since the King Soopers shooting in Boulder

News & Spotlights | September 27, 2021
Two smiling people stand on the sidewalk of a shopping center.
Lisa Moreno, vice president of programs for the Community Foundation Boulder County, and Chris DiGiano ’90 at the September 19 sidewalk social on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo courtesy Ning Mosberger-Tang)


It’s been six months since the 2021 shooting at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. Following the tragedy, Chris DiGiano ’90 launched a grassroots nonprofit to bring together residents of South Boulder (or “SoBo,” as locals often call it) to support one another and begin the healing process.

The collective, SoBo Rising, Inc., organizes events that seek to restore a sense of shared identity and connection, Chris said.

“The more people I talked to after the shooting, the more I realized that everyone had a story; everyone was affected in some way,” said the alumnus, who serves as president and chairman of SoBo Rising’s board. “There seemed to also be this shared restlessness and a desire to channel the horror and anger into something positive for the community.”

SoBo Rising hosted a sidewalk social event in September to “bring small moments of joy back to the Table Mesa Shopping Center,” according to Chris. The shopping center is where the shooting took place on March 22.

A group of people in circle with drums plan percussion music.
An estimated 3,000 residents and 100 volunteers participated in the event, which featured live music, food from local businesses, and activities ranging from portrait photography and Putt-Putt to yoga and letter-writing. (Photo courtesy Linda Keyes)

Chris credited his experiences as a Morehead-Cain Scholar in the late 1980s for preparing him to start the initiative.

“I have the Morehead-Cain Program and UNC–Chapel Hill to thank for my early lessons in community service and activism that gave me the courage to organize something this ambitious,” he said. As a college student, Chris was involved in the student executive board of the Campus Y, where he led several initiatives, including a 10K road race that served as a fundraiser for organizational projects.

The alumnus also said his Summer Enrichment Program experience interning at the Baltimore County Police Department exposed him to the challenges and daily dangers of working in law enforcement—a reality that the King Soopers shooting painfully brought to focus, he said.

Eric Talley, a Boulder police officer, was one of the ten people killed in the tragedy. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty and Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold attended the September 19 event in remembrance of Talley’s passing and to show support.

“Their participation as everyday citizens helped reinforce the idea that we wanted to convey—that we could start shifting the mood in our neighborhood from a crime scene to a community center,” Chris said.

Chris works as an engineering manager for Aurora, an autonomous vehicles company. He and his wife and two daughters have lived in SoBo for the past two decades.

You can learn more about SoBo Rising via their website or on Twitter and Instagram.

A group of people outside stand around a buffet line.
The sidewalk social featured local vendors from the Boulder area. (Photo courtesy Chris DiGiano ’90/SoBo Rising)