A Year in Uvalde
The United States experiences so many mass shootings that journalists do not usually linger long after the attacks. Reporters and photographers move on to other stories, while the families and friends of the victims continue to grieve.
One year ago today, a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Tamir Kalifa, an independent photojournalist based in Austin, traveled to Uvalde shortly after the shootings — but he kept coming back. Tamir temporarily moved to Uvalde to live alongside the victims’ families, renting a 320-square-foot shipping container converted into a home.
We’re devoting today’s newsletter to some of the photographs Tamir has taken over the past year and to excerpts from his interviews with families.
“The grieving cycles do not match the media cycles,” Tamir told us. “We move on, but families don’t.”
Marking the holidays
Xavier “X.J.” Lopez, 10, loved Christmas. He loved going to Uvalde’s annual extravaganza, an event with light displays, decorations and holiday music. So this past Christmas — their first without XJ — his parents, Abel Lopez and Felicha Martinez, and his siblings went to honor him.
The soundtrack of a children’s choir played as they walked through the event. Then, they heard a loud blast that sounded like gunfire — an overloaded transformer had burst. Felicha had a panic attack and collapsed on the grass.
“These days are supposed to be happy,” she said later that evening. “But they are just reminders that our lives are torn apart.”
The weekend before Tess Mata, 10, died, she told her older sister Faith that she wanted to learn how to swim. Faith was about to begin her senior year at Texas State University, where students jump into a river on campus as a graduation tradition. Tess wanted to take part with her big sister.
On her graduation day this month, Faith walked with her family to the river. Then she jumped in, clutching a photo of Tess. The photo was a sweet symbol — but also a painful reminder.
“Tess looks exactly like Faith,” Veronica Mata, their mother, said. “So the other day she came and she told me, she’s like, ‘I’m so sorry that you have to look at me every day and think of Tess.’”
Visiting their graves
The cemetery where most of the victims are buried has become an anchor in the lives of their families and friends. They have gathered together for graveside birthdays and holidays. They mow the lawn, decorate the headstones and lie on the lush grass that has taken hold.
Caitlyne Gonzales, 11, who lost many of her friends in the shooting, comes to the cemetery to visit them. On a recent evening, she stopped by Jackie Cazares’s grave and played Taylor Swift music. She sang and danced and took selfies. For a moment, it was as if they were all together again.
Protests and vigils
Many of the parents have found purpose in activism. Brett Cross, the uncle of Uziyah Garcia, 10, who was raising him as a son, spent 10 days camped outside the school district offices in protest, alongside other family members and supporters. They demanded that school police officers be suspended over their role in the delayed response.
The protest ended when the district halted its school police department’s operations and placed two officials on leave.
Family members have also testified before lawmakers on both the state and federal levels and protested beyond Uvalde. Tamir said that an image of Jackie Cazares’s parents, Javier and Gloria, at an annual gun violence vigil in Washington, D.C., surrounded by other survivors of gun violence, was one of the most powerful moments he’s witnessed.
“It’s important to see each of these family members as part of a nationwide network of people intimately affected by gun violence,” he said. “It’s one that is growing each day.”
You can see more of Tamir’s photos here.
Tamir Kalifa contributed reporting and photography.
More on Uvalde
The parents of Uvalde victims have had to grieve in the public eye, facing unimaginable loss without the solace of privacy.
Rifts have emerged in Uvalde between victims’ families and the police, and between gun owners and newly minted gun-control activists.
Two fourth graders wounded in the massacre are still trying to recover.
In the year since the shooting, lawmakers in Texas have moved to expand access to guns. Here’s what has (or hasn’t) changed.
THE LATEST NEWS
The South Carolina Senate passed a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy needs the support of a majority of Republicans and a critical mass of Democrats for a debt limit deal.
Ron DeSantis plans to announce his candidacy for president live on Twitter today with Elon Musk. His allies are planning a $200 million push for him.
Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York is scheduled to begin in March 2024.
A bill that would have forced Texas public schools to display the Ten Commandments has failed.
War in Ukraine
A group of Russians who have taken up arms in defense of Ukraine claimed responsibility for an attack in a Russian city near the border.
Russia will continue to detain Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, for more than three more months, a court ruled.
After criticism from Western leaders at the G7 Summit, Beijing took steps to reinforce its relationship with Moscow.
The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, warned that social media use carried mental health risks for children and teens.
Cigarettes and drunken driving: Public advisories from the nation’s top doctor have become turning points in American life.
The Times asked experts how parents can help their kids navigate social media.
Other Big Stories
A typhoon hit Guam, leaving most of the American territory without power.
Pregnant women in Sudan have faced artillery fire to give birth in a dwindling number of open hospitals and clinics.
A pro-democracy activist in Belarus was arrested in 2021. His former allies say being a political prisoner transformed him from a hero into a villain.
Nearly 2,000 children were abused by Catholic Church officials in Illinois since 1950, the state’s attorney general said.
Doubters have already written off DeSantis’s chances in the 2024 Republican primaries. He’s not dead yet, Rich Lowry argues.
Here are columns by Farhad Manjoo on Adobe’s artificial intelligence and Jamelle Bouie on Neil Gorsuch.
Fed up: Diners are sick of QR-code menus.
A renters’ utopia: Why it might look like Vienna.
BayouWear: These bright and colorful clothes were born at a New Orleans jazz festival.
$1 tool: To keep your stovetop sparkling.
Advice from Wirecutter: You need a good purse organizer.
Lives Lived: Rick Hoyt was a regular at the Boston Marathon who competed in more than 1,000 road races using a wheelchair pushed by his father. He died at 61.
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
Boston lives: The Celtics staved off elimination last night with a season-saving win in Miami.
Rodgers scare: Aaron Rodgers didn’t practice yesterday after tweaking his calf, but that didn’t stop the first day of Jets’ practice from being jubilant.
N.H.L. blitz: The Las Vegas Golden Knights took a 3-0 series lead after scoring three times in the first eight minutes of last night’s victory over the Stars.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The show goes on
The Tony Awards will look different this year, but they will go on, after a group of playwrights convinced the striking Hollywood writers’ union not to picket the show.
As part of the agreement, the awards show will have no scripted material. But it will feature the usual razzle-dazzle performances from this year’s crop of musicals. That was crucial for Broadway, which has struggled to attract audiences since the pandemic and relies on the Tonys to generate interest.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Add a sesame vinaigrette to this tomato salad.
What to Watch
Here are hidden gems to stream this month, including a foodie-meets-performance artist comedy.
What to Read
“Time Shelter,” a novel in which a nostalgia fever sweeps Europe, won the International Booker Prize.
Now Time to Play
The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were amicable, claimable and climbable. Here are today’s puzzle and the Bee Buddy, which helps you find remaining words.
And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku.
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David Leonhardt writes The Morning, The Times’s flagship daily newsletter. He has previously been an Op-Ed columnist, Washington bureau chief, co-host of “The Argument” podcast, founding editor of The Upshot section and a staff writer for The Times Magazine. In 2011, he received the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. @DLeonhardt • Facebook
Lauren Jackson is a writer for The Morning newsletter, based in London.
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