Texas parents, teachers and students are wearing maroon to honor Uvalde victims

·8 min read
UVALDE, TEXAS - MAY 28: A young girl wears a
A young girl wears a "Uvalde Strong" shirt as she attends a vigil for the victims of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Texas is wearing maroon and white to show it's #UvaldeStrong.

Teachers, students and staff across the state of Texas wore the colors on Sept. 6, to honor victims of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that took place May 24 at Robb Elementary School. Tuesday marks the first time Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) is holding classes since 19 children and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman.

While UCISD held a maroon out spirit day, other school districts across the state rallied their Facebook followers to wear maroon and white, UCISD's official colors.

Joanna Cattanach, a Latina activist and educator living in North Texas who shared a photo of her 7-year-old son Daniel wearing maroon on his way to school, partook in the fashion statement. Taking the photo was especially hard considering that many parents of Uvalde victims are still mourning, but, she says, it's important to keep their memories alive.

"Days like today remind me of how hard it is to parent in Texas," she tells Yahoo Life. "We are reminded in moments like today what our children may face and that feeling of helplessness is not far away."

Explaining the significance of wearing maroon to her son was a somber reminder of why she and other parents must continue to have conversations about gun safety.

"I had to sit with him while Sesame Street played in the background and explain, to a 7-year-old, that a bad man with a gun hurt kids and teachers in Uvalde and he and others are wearing maroon to make those kids and families feel better again," Cattanach says. "We talked, again, about what happens if someone tries to hurt him or his friends. To listen. Hide. Run. Fight. He said, 'throw wood chips.' And I agreed."

Rhonda Meredith, a first grade teacher in Pasadena Independent School District in Harris County, tells Yahoo Life it's important for educators to come together as well — for the future of their students's safety.

"Educators should unite so we can better protect ourselves and our students," Meredith explains. “Having an active shooter drill is stressful for all. And in reality, the drills will not prepare us fully."

“I look forward to more counselors on campus to be proactive with student mental health. I look forward to not having to worry about a criminal trying to trespass and hurt anyone else," she says of the future. “We have to change our hearts as a society. We need to seek help and not grab a gun or assault weapon. We have to protect our children.”

Cattanach and Meredith aren't the only ones sharing their stories on social media.

Brett Cross, who lost his son Uziyah Garcia in the Robb Elementary shooting, shared a gut-wrenching photo of his son’s ashes on Twitter, calling it a “bittersweet” day.

“Seeing all of these babies first day of school pics puts a smile on my face, but the hole in my heart is ablaze,” he wrote alongside an image of Uzyah’s ashes next to a photo of his first day of school.

“He will never get to lace up new kicks, rock a new favorite hoodie, or try his new cologne,” Cross continued. “For many, this maroon out is a one time thing, as America will slowly but surely forget. But this is our life. This is a lifetime of ‘first day of school pics.’ We don’t get to don maroon clothes for one day. We wear these shirts, shirts with our kids’ faces for the rest of our lives. As cliché as it sounds, hug your babies tighter, let them stay up a few minutes later, let their annoyance deriving from trivial things fill your heart, because I’d give everything to experience it again.”

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, wore maroon in solidarity to her organization's volunteers: “We don’t have to live like this. Children should never die like this.”

Brianna Robinson, a mom of two and a fifth grade teacher at McGown Elementary School in Cypress, shared a photo of her little ones wearing maroon while encouraging other parents to “hug their babies this morning.”

“Today and everyday after my heart is with the community of Uvalde,” Robinson wrote on Twitter alongside the photos. “As those parents hug their babies this morning for the first day of school, I also hugged my sweet angel a little tighter. May school become a safe haven for these beautiful children again.”

Senator Roland Gutierrez, representing District 19, also took a moment to remember Uvalde victims.

“Today, please wear maroon to show support for #Uvalde as children and teachers return back to the classrooms. We will always remember the tragedy that happened on May 24th,” he wrote on Twitter alongside the Uvalde CISD logo. “Keep the victims, survivors, and community in your thoughts and prayers. #UvaldeStrong.”

Throughout the day, stories continued to be shared.

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