“My daughter will never get to celebrate Halloween again, nor will she ever get the chance to vote,” Gloria Cazares tweeted, mother of 10-year-old Jackie Cazares, who was killed with 18 of her classmates and two teachers in the Robb Elementary School mass shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.
In what is supposed to be a holiday filled with family, love, and culture, Cazares and other Uvalde families marked the Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, on Tuesday, in mourning, marching from the Texas Capitol to Gov. Greg Abbott’s mansion.
The march finished with families leaving an ofrenda on Abbott’s residence to remind him of the lives lost in classrooms 111 and 112.
Ofrendas, also known as altars, are filled with flowers, pictures, and memorabilia to honor a deceased loved one life.
Families also chanted calls demanding that Gov. Abbott raise the minimum age to purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21– a policy request victim’s families have asked for since the tragic shooting. Abbott refuses to enact it because he said it’s “unconstitutional.”
“21 por 21,” the families said.
Nonetheless, festivities continued on Wednesday with an event at the Hill Crest Memorial Cemetery in Uvalde, where most victims are buried.
According to tradition, the souls of deceased children come down from heaven to reunite with their families at the end of the night on October 31.
More than once, the families whose loved ones died in the Uvalde shooting have outwardly campaigned against Abbott and voiced their support for Democratic opponent Beto O’ Rourke.
O’Rourke held a rally in Uvalde on Wednesday and met with victims’ families to pay his respects.
In addition to demanding legislative change, families have turned their tragedy into activism and said they want accountability from all Texas officials involved in response to the shooting.
According to a recent report by the Texas Tribune, police officers knew there were children alive calling 911 for help during the shooting but still decided to wait an additional 38 minutes outside the classroom.
On October 27, families also spoke at a Texas Public Safety Committee meeting.
At one point, committee members discussed if Texas DPS Director Steve McGraw should resign after the problematic response to the shooting in Robb Elementary School.
Despite calls for his resignation, McGraw still refuses to resign.