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Latinx Stories

The Loss We Feel Is Immeasurable—but I’m Honoring My Community by Advocating for Change

Photo: Katie Hayes Luke

Two years ago, my town of Uvalde, Texas was changed forever. 

19 children and two of my fellow teachers at Robb Elementary School were killed by an 18-year-old gunman armed with an assault rifle. I was shot twice—once in my arm and once in my back—and then left to wait for help while all 11 students in my classroom died. 

21 members of our tight-knit Hispanic community were taken away from us in an instant. 21 people with futures, dreams, and people who loved them. The loss is immeasurable.

Those of us who survived are confronted with grief, pain, rage, and bewilderment every single day. Questions rattle around in my head: How could this have happened? Could we have done something differently? 

And will our lawmakers allow it to happen again?


From 2015-2022, shootings with four or more people killed where assault weapons were used resulted in more than twice as many people killed.

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, “Mass Shootings in the United States,” March 2023,


Each year, nearly 5,000 Latinx people die from gun violence in the US.

I wish we could turn back time, that we could bring back the students and colleagues we lost that day. 

But we can’t. 

So I’m committed to making sure they’re never forgotten and to honoring them by advocating for change.

Assault weapons like the one used at my school are exceptionally deadly and designed for use on the battlefield. There’s no reason why anyone should be able to access these weapons of war—and Congress has the responsibility to do something about it. Our lawmakers can and must prevent future tragedies by banning assault weapons now. 

Every day, our lawmakers’ inaction is a choice. 

Even after several tragedies in our state—including the shooting that killed 21 of my students and colleagues, the 30 people killed in the 2019 El Paso and Odessa shootings, and the 26 people killed in the 2017 Sutherland Springs shooting—Texas lawmakers sit on their hands. They won’t pass foundational gun safety laws, but they will tear down existing gun safety protections.

Our lawmakers need to know that we deserve a different choice: one that prioritizes our lives and puts an end to this senseless violence. 

Honor the students and other victims of the shooting at Robb Elementary School with action.

Latinx people in the United States are dying from gun violence every day and at rates disproportionate to their peers. Learn more about our work to support Latinx communities experiencing gun violence

In the eight years between 2015 and 2022, over 19,000 people were shot and killed or wounded in the United States in a mass shooting. The reach of each mass shooting stretches far beyond those killed and wounded, harming the well-being of survivors, their families, and entire communities. Learn more about our work to prevent mass shootings in America.

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