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."
Got a quick pic today of kiddo in maroon in solidarity with students in #uvalde who return to classes today. #UvaldeStrong. We had another chat about safety, but I’m thinking of all those parents in #uvalde carpool today and teachers and staff. #texas #safety pic.twitter.com/kI5jy6fBFM
— Joanna For Texas | Joanna Cattanach 💙 (@JoannaCattanach) September 6, 2022
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.
— Mrs. Meredith 🇺🇸 (@mrsrmeredith) September 6, 2022
"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 over the country, people wearing maroon for #UvaldeStrong. It’s bitter sweet. Seeing all of these babies first day of school pics puts a smile on my face, but the hole in my heart is ablaze. This is #Uziyah s first day of school pic. He will never get to lace up new pic.twitter.com/6qQ8E0CLaE
— Brett Cross (@BCross052422) September 6, 2022
“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.”
We don’t have to live like this. Children should never die like this.
Joining @MomsDemand volunteers and @LivesRobbed in wearing maroon today in solidarity with families returning to school in Uvalde. #UvaldeStrong #txlege pic.twitter.com/O6trd2xOLQ
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) September 6, 2022
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.”
Today and everyday after my heart is with the community of Uvalde. 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. #UvaldeStrong pic.twitter.com/bpeCz2hXES
— Brianna Robinson, M.Ed (@CFISD_Robinson) September 6, 2022
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.”
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.
Keep the victims, survivors, and community in your thoughts and prayers.#UvaldeStrong pic.twitter.com/Y2NVECanAN
— Senator Roland Gutierrez (@RolandForTexas) September 6, 2022
Throughout the day, stories continued to be shared.
— Mayra Bernal (@bernalsc13nc3) September 6, 2022
We’re wearing maroon today to honor Uvalde. Just three months ago, families were ripped apart and forever changed.
We can’t carry on like normal after children were murdered! We must choose new leaders to change our laws, and ensure that tragedy won’t strike again. #UvaldeStrong pic.twitter.com/zb4onO23l6
— Rep. Jasmine Crockett (@JasmineForUS) September 6, 2022
.@Uvalde_CISD parents are dropping their kids off for the first day of school right now.
Melissa Hernandez and her son say they’re a bit nervous, but are feeling good. They want everyone to know “We got this.” #UvaldeStrong @KXAN_News pic.twitter.com/P0xTKHyFPb
— Jala Washington (@Jala__WashTV) September 6, 2022
My son was happy to find his maroon shirt to wear in remembrance & solidarity with the #Uvalde students & community today. I'm so proud that he's growing up to be considerate & compassionate.
Our love & well wishes to Uvalde today. #UvaldeStrong @MomsDemand pic.twitter.com/ZG70sauzlp
— J. La'Shay Black - Text ACT to 644-33. (@Endurance97) September 6, 2022
When your only maroon shirt is the 10 year anniversary remembrance run of the Virginia Tech shooting. This VT survivor family is standing in solidarity with Uvalde families as they send their kids back to school. #UvaldeStrong @MomsDemand @LivesRobbed pic.twitter.com/qEiSqIQGAC
— Sun (@suniminim) September 6, 2022
— Dr. Nicole Lewis (@niclew12) September 6, 2022
— Marco De La Fuente (@MrDLF80) September 6, 2022
— Erica Yarger 🌵 (@yargergal) September 6, 2022
Wellness, parenting, body image and more: Get to know the who behind the hoo with Yahoo Life’s newsletter. Sign up here.