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Families of Uvalde victims, activists rally for revised gun laws at Texas Capitol

Families of Uvalde victims, activists rally for revised gun laws at Texas Capitol - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

The family of Maite Rodriguez, a victim of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary, participate in the Raise the Age rally at the Texas Capitol on Aug. 27, 2022. Three months after the tragedy in Uvalde, families came together in Austin to ignite change to Texas's gun policy. Photo by Miranda Rodriguez

A soft yet confident voice rings out over the sound system, “I was at Robb Elementary on the day of the shooting. I am here today to make a change,” student Katelyn Gonzales said. The reality has set in; the air becomes heavy and quietly tense.

On Aug. 27, over 1,000 activists, survivors of mass shootings and families gathered on the steps of the Texas Capitol demanding Gov. Greg Abbott to hold a special session and raise the age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.

Many of the attendees traveled to Austin from Uvalde. Carrying signs that read demands for change and photographs of the victims from the Robb Elementary school shooting, the pleas for change echoed through the Capitol’s entrance.

“We are tired of our loved ones having an expiration date,” said Sam Fuentes, activist for March for Our Lives and survivor from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Texas needing common sense laws was a call heard through the crowd, accompanied with chants of “vote him (Abbott) out!”

On May 24, students at Robb Elementary went to school like it was any other day. They attended an end-of-the-year awards ceremony earlier that morning, but that all changed when 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, made his way into the school. The shooter killed 19 students, two teachers and severely wounded several others.

One of the victims was elementary teacher Eva Mireles.

“My sister (Eva) died a hero — not of war but a hero of the classroom,” said Maggie Mireles, sister of Eva Mireles. Mireles also said her sister died protecting as many students as she could.

A statement from participant Kimberly Rubio brought the crowd to tears. She spoke about a young woman who graduated from St. Mary’s University with a bachelor’s in mathematics, later applying at St. Mary’s law school, all while coaching little league softball. Then, the final lines dropped:

“I said, ‘how can you manage all of this?’ She said, ‘Mom, I can do anything.’ Except she can’t because this young woman only exists in my imagination. Lexi will forever be 10 years old, but when I close my eyes, I dream of a different life.”

Zoe Touray, activist for March for Our Lives and survivor from the shooting at Oxford High School, closed the rally with, “Kids of Texas are living on borrowed time.”

In June, a Texas Politics Project poll from the University of Texas at Austin found that 52% of Texans are in favor of stricter gun laws, making it an important issue on the ballot as the November midterm elections near.

About the Author

Miranda Rodriguez
Miranda Rodriguez is a post-baccalaureate communication major at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She received a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2018. In her spare time, she enjoys going to comic cons, attending concerts and watching films. After she graduates, Miranda wants to explore a career in journalism.

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