‘Veintiuno por veintiuno’: Families of the Uvalde victims calling for gun law changes in Austin

Their messages came on Dia De Los Muertos as they mourned their loved ones.

The families of the Robb Elementary victims gathered on the capitol steps to call for gun reform changes ahead of election day.

Austin – Veintiuno por veintiuno, 21 for 21 was the message heard on the state capitol steps as families of the Uvalde victims mourned their loved ones.

An ofrenda with the faces of the 21 victims killed at Robb Elementary was carried from the Capitol steps to the governor’s mansion by families still grieving the loss of their loved ones and fighting for change.

“I miss sister,” Zayne, Amerie Jo Garza’s four-year-old brother said.

“Unfortunately, my son’s not here anymore because he was taken from us because these laws aren’t changed,” Felicha Martinez, Xavier Lopez’s mom, said.

“I really wish she really wasn’t that known, that would mean she would still be here with us. But unfortunately, everybody knows her,” Steven Garcia, Ellie’s dad said.

Holding in tears and carrying pictures of their loved ones, the families of the Uvalde victims were back on the Capitol steps calling for gun law changes like raising the age to purchase an assault-style weapon to 21, implementing red flag laws, and increasing background checks.

It’s something Lexi’s mom Kimberly Rubio has asked for before.

”Some of you might recognize these words I used on June 8th when I addressed Congress. Why am I repeating myself? Because not a damn thing has changed,” Rubio said.

Carrying the ofrenda down the street to the governor’s mansion, those calls continued. They were met with quiet sobs as marigolds were laid in tribute.

“It’s a part of most of our culture but we shouldn’t have to have our children on an ofrenda in front of the governor’s mansion,” Jazmin Cazares, Jackie’s sister said.

“I just appreciate all of us sticking together through it, you know. We’re one big family now. We’re not 21 families anymore. We’re just one big family,” Nikki Cross, Uziyah Garcia’s guardian said.

The hope was this Marcha De Los Niños would encourage more voters to head to the polls next week.

One of the messages heard on Tuesday was that children’s lives are on the ballot.

Community honors gun violence victims during the Day of the Dead holiday

Tuesday marked the official start of the day of the dead holiday, and many marched to honor the lives lost to gun violence. The large crowd marched from Confluence Park to Mission Concepcion. Democratic leaders led the group, demanding gun reform laws in Texas.

Find more Uvalde coverage from KSAT HERE.


About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.