KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nineteen Robb Elementary students and two teachers killed by a school shooter in Uvalde, Texas were remembered one week later in Kansas City Tuesday night.
The vigil was held in the Pendelton Heights neighborhood, a community that knows the heartache of losing a student inside school to violence. Last month, Manny Guzman was stabbed and killed inside Northeast Middle School less than two miles from the Latinx Education Collaborative.
The Latinx Education Collaborative works to get more Hispanic teachers in Kansas City metro schools saying students need to see representation in schools that look like them. But for the past week on the news they’ve been seeing the faces of the Texas school shooting massacre.
“This one hits hard for us specifically because Uvalde, Texas is a majority Hispanic town. So a lot of the kids that are dead look like us,” Edgar Palacios, LatinX Education Collaborative Founder, said.
“What happened there was a huge tragedy when you think of ,8,9,10 year old kids and the teachers who stood in front of the shooter to protect their kids,” Mattie Rhodes Center President John Fierro said.
The vigil was about healing and remembering as the names of each victim was read as their faces crossed the screen.
“We’ve seen school shooting after school shooting the past couple decades and I think its easy for us to forget the names and forget the kids who actually died. So its important to raise awareness,” Palacios said.
But as dozens of community members laid out candles honoring the victims, it was also a call to action. Speakers said security isn’t just a school district issue, but a community one.
“We have to embrace what happened in Uvalde does impact all of us – how we communicate with our kids, how we protect them, how we protect our neighborhoods and our kids,” Fierro said.
Specifically speakers said they’d like to see more resources dedicated to school security and mental health. They also want to make sure school and police officials are prepared to communicate emergency information with all members of the community no matter what language they speak.