Nevaeh. Jacklyn. Makenna. Jose. Eliahna. Uziyah. Amerie Jo. Xavier. Jayce. Tess. Maranda. Alithia. Annabell. Maite. Alexandria. Layla. Jailah. Eliahna. Rojelio. And their teachers, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles.
Nineteen children and two educators who should be here with us today. They should still have birthdays to celebrate, graduations to plan, careers and lives to look forward to. Instead, one year ago today, they were killed in their elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in a mass shooting carried out with a weapon of war.
Today, our nation continues to mourn for those lost, to pray for their families who must bear the unbearable, and to grieve for a country in which violence like this – even in elementary school classrooms – is sickeningly common. One year after Uvalde, gun violence remains the leading cause of death for children in our nation. One in five Americans has lost a family member to gun violence.
Over the past year, so many Uvalde families have channeled their anguish into advocacy. Together, they demand that we act to save lives. With their help, President Biden signed the most significant gun safety legislation in 30 years and implemented important executive actions in the months since. But more must be done.
Today, Doug and I pray for the people of Uvalde. And we urge leaders in Congress and in state legislatures to meet this heartbreaking moment not just with words, but with action.