Conflicts & WarUvalde Shooting

Uvalde rallies around Texas school shooting victims’ families

By Lucia Leal

Uvalde, US, May 28 (EFE).- Nancy and Art Sutton have been taking photographs of children at all the schools in Uvalde for 28 years.

The portraits of the 19 children killed in the massacre on Tuesday now adorn the counter at their shop, Uvalde Photo, ready for their family members to pick up.

After the shooting at Robb Elementary School, the couple started looking for the photos they had taken of the victims at the beginning of each school year and contacted their families to pick the one they liked the best.

While showing EFE the photographs of the 19 children and another of the entire class with the two teachers who also lost their lives, Irma García and Eva Mireles, the photographer recalled how happy the kids are when she and her husband go to click the class photos at the beginning of the school year.

The 59-year-old photographer has been immortalizing those moments for so long that she has even taken class photos of the parents and grandparents of some of the children who are now starting to attend school.

Some time ago, when she was taking photos at the same school where the shooting took place, there was a security alert and the entrances and exits of the building were temporarily blocked.

Nancy remembers that the children behaved very well.

Tuesday’s tragedy has hit this largely Hispanic town of fewer than 16,000 inhabitants hard, and many businesses are reaching out to the victims’ families.

Two funeral homes in the area have offered to organize funeral services free of charge.

There are no appointments available to donate blood for the 17 injured, free food is available at the central square, and a local bank has established a fund to channel donations for the affected families.

On Tuesday, after the authorities issued an alert that there was a shooter in a school, began “the longest 20 minutes” of Ignacio Mata’s life.

Mata’s two children study at a local school and it took him some time to verify that the attack was taking place in another school.

The day after the incident, he began to think about how he could help families and designed a logo with the slogan “Uvalde Strong.”

The slogan is now painted on almost every storefront.

The logo has also been printed on hundreds of T-shirts at Mata’s store, Genesis Screenprinting, which had to open on Saturday to cater to the huge demand for it.

He has already sold at least 350 T-shirts in less than three days and has orders from Mexico and US states as far away as Minnesota.

Mata explained that the T-shirt costs $20, out of which $15 goes into the fund established by the First State Bank of Uvalde for the victims’ families.

Robb Elementary School’s color is maroon, but it is more expensive to buy shirts in that shade, so to donate more money to the fund, Mata has opted for a light gray background for now.

On it, he prints his logo in cherry color with a white border. The “U” for Uvalde is adorned with a coyote, the school’s mascot.

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