A Year After the Robb Elementary School Shooting, Uvalde Communities Gather To Mourn and Commemorate Victims
On May 24, 2022, the city of Uvalde, Texas was marked by tragedy. It became the site of the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.
Active shooter Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary School with an AR-15 and opened fire in several classrooms, killing 19 students and two teachers while injuring others.
A year later, parents are still mourning and fighting to honor the memory of their children. Beyond facing the loss of their family members, some have become activists for gun reform, others have joined support groups to help students return to school, but all of them continue to seek justice for their children.
Despite small victories with legislation, such as raising the age for purchasing guns in Texas, the road ahead is long. These are the details of what has transpired a year after the shooting and how Uvalde is remembering the tragedy today.
Texans commemorate the 21 lives lost at Robb Elementary School
Today, Governor Greg Abbott ordered flags across the state to fly at half-mast and sent out a call for a moment of silence at 11:30 AM to honor the 19 children and two teachers who lost their lives at Robb Elementary School.
However, there are currently no posts on either of his Twitter accounts acknowledging the May 24 shooting. Additionally, the state government isn’t planning any events to commemorate the tragic anniversary.
In Uvalde, mourners are gathering to remember and commemorate the lives lost. In addition to a planned vigil and a private event for families of the victims, mariachis from all over the state are congregating in the city for a performance.
The leader of the group, Anthony Medrano, shared a heartwarming post on Twitter. Telling the New York Post,”We’re just stepping in and giving them the comfort that we know we can give.”
Texas Congressman, Joaquin Castro, also posted a video today of his speech at the chamber, acknowledging the year since the shooting.
At 3:30 PM EST, President Biden will make remarks commemorating the anniversary. You can watch his live speech here:
Uvalde parents continue fighting for justice for their children
On social media, parents who lost their children in the Uvalde shooting are making their presence known. For the last year, they refused to stop speaking truth to power and calling out their politicians for empty, “thoughts and prayers” rhetoric.
Here is a video of Uziyah Garcia’s father, Brett Cross, openly rejecting the thoughts and prayers of Texas’ legislators earlier this year.
The night before the anniversary, Cross also posted a brief thread about these politicians.
Today, Cross posted another tweet acknowledging the anniversary, the culmination of a countdown preparing him and his followers for May 24 of this year.
Kimberly Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza’s mother, said she still feels like she’s living that day.
She also posted a video of her and Amerie to remind followers of the daughter she lost.
Gloria Cazares, Jackie Cazares’ mother, posted the last picture she took of her daughter before she died.
To showcase the art created to remember those who lost their lives, ABC 20/20 published a video profiling murals of the victims.
Survivors seek comfort outside of Uvalde
Elsewhere, four survivors of the shooting are going to Disneyland today to avoid the proceedings in Uvalde. The parents of the four classmates from Room 112 started a GoFundMe to help their children in their recovery process.
“They continue to fight for their recovery everyone knows May 24 is coming and they aren’t looking forward for the one-year mark,” the campaign description reads. “Our kids came up with a plan to take a trip to get out of Uvalde. They have goals to reach to make it to Disneyland. If you would like to help them we would appreciate it. Anything helps.”
Contributions reached $46,405 from 945 donors. However, the memories of that day still haunt these survivors.
In an interview with KHOU 11 in Texas, 10-year-old Gabriel Mata said, “We don’t want to be here, we don’t want to have to deal with May 24.” The boy will celebrate his 11th birthday this week at the theme park.
Gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death of children in the United States
Despite the tragedy at Uvalde, school shootings continue to happen regularly in the United States. Since May 24, 2022, there were three major school shootings, not counting the dozens of other instances of gun violence on school campuses.
According to a study from the Pew Research Center, 2019 to 2021 saw an increase in gun deaths for children in the United States. Through the first half of 2023, more than 100 children 11 and younger died as a result of gun violence. The number rises to 600 for children aged 12 to 17. In 2022, a KFF analysis shows gun violence as the leading cause of death for children in the US.
However, support for gun control legislation among Texas’ Republican legislators continues to remain nearly non-existent. In fact, the Republican Party officially censured Representative Tony Gonzalez for breaking from party lines and supporting a gun safety bill.
Additionally, significant gun control legislation on a federal level is still out of reach. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 gestured towards change but did little to curb the severity of mass shootings. Gun violence in 2023 is already on track to meet or exceed the 2022 statistics.
Earlier this year, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill to “regulate assault weapons,” but the bill has only reached the introductory stage since its initial drafting in January 2023.
In Texas, a bill to raise the minimum age for assault weapons purchases from 18 to 21 has passed, however, turning it into a law is still in the works.