Community members gather to share a moment of silence for the lives lost in the Texas school shooting

Tonight about 30 Mankato community members gathered at Reconciliation Park to support each other and share a moment of silence for the lives lost in the Texas elementary school shooting Tuesday. 

Tuesday’s incident resulted in the deaths of 19 children and 2 school teachers at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Officials say the gunman, Salvador Ramos, 18, was identified and killed at the scene by police and is believed to have acted alone.

During the vigil the names of the children along with their ages as well as the school teachers whose lives were lost were written on the sidewalk in chalk and read out loud to the crowd. Participants held candles and various signs stating “End gun violence,” “Kids deserve better to feel safe at school,” and “Thoughts and prayers won’t protect your kids.”

“When kids in Texas are shot down, that affects us,” said vigil organizer Daniel Marshall. “These kids are victims, they didn’t ask for this, so instead of thoughts and prayers and going through the same motion over and over again, I’m hoping to create a space for each other so we can make some actual meaningful change.”

Organizers say they held the vigil at Reconciliation Park to remind people of the hanging of the 38 Dakota which took place in Mankato in 1862.

“This isn’t a global thing, this is an American thing. They [the children] spent their first and second grade in a pandemic and they died in their third and fourth grade. We all deserve a chance to go to school and feel safe,” said Marshall.

Wednesday also marked the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. Floyd was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis.

Those in attendance were reminded of the anniversary as well as Memorial Day, which will be this upcoming Monday. The federal holiday mourns the U.S military soldiers who have died while serving.

Minnesota State University, Mankato senior education major Jenny Craig, said she came to the vigil to show support as she is planning on becoming a school teacher. 

“I feel like I can’t do anything, just trying to be a voice in any way possible,” Craig said. “I’m going to be a teacher and thinking about the future and the safety of my students isn’t something I should have to worry about.”

Lasting about an hour in the rainy weather, the vigil wrapped up with Jasmine D’Avilar sharing how the incident hit close to home for her.

“Those babies should’ve ended up at home, they were about to start summer break, they should be writing with chalk on their sidewalk at home,” she said. “I have a 12 year old sister, just seeing our group chat with my mom making sure she got on the bus today and got home really triggered me. I don’t know where we go from here, but these are conversations that need to be had in our community, and to hold space for all these kids.”

Header Photo: Daniel Marshall speaks to community members who gathered in Reconciliation Park to share a moment of silence for the lives lost in the elementary school shooting in Texas on Tuesday. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Julia Barton at Julia.Barton@mnsu.edu

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: