Wearing white, printed t-shirts with Uziyah's picture, represented as an angel, on them, they caught my attention. His aunt told me that Uziyah was from San Angelo and that his body had been delivered there. Quenching my own tears, I told her that I am from San Angelo and that I was really sorry at what had happened.
They remembered him as a truly delightful boy. They said that he had great faith in God and would always tell everyone, "God bless you. God bless you."
While referring to a class photo with the two fallen teachers, Ms. Irma Mireles and Irma Garcia, superimposed on it, family members, commented admiringly on how he always liked to be in front.
This experience fills me with so many thoughts and feelings. One thing that struck me is how we are all connected. "We are all West Texas," was impressed upon my heart. This is familiar territory and I got reconnected to it. And all I can tell you about that is that it's complicated.
West Texas has a history and a story that needs to be told (especially see Emilio's reflection on this). Another thing that struck me is that this is a family that prays. Having grown up in the church in West Texas, this was recognizable to me. Perhaps not all, but all that they shared seemed to align. How assuring. How helpful.
Prayer, meditation, Indigenous ceremony, and all the healing arts, provide great protection—especially when practiced daily—in this time of great need and vulnerability.
I myself am in deep prayer and meditation for all the children and families impacted. Action and advocacy often also have a positive impact on healing while motivating commonsense reforms. Gov. Abbott should most definitely call a special legislative session to address this matter alone. He should do this soon. He should stop playing politics and should understand instead that immediately calling a special session will contribute enormously to our healing. To not do so is to perpetuate this violence.
We are not solely living a moment that is "polarized," my friends. It is first and foremost a spiritual battle anchored in a culture that espouses harmful ways of knowing and being in the world, and with policies, rules, and regulations to match.
We must all humble ourselves so that Creator can work miracles in this time of great pain, suffering, and trauma for the families and communities impacted by this massive loss of life—all of whom were treasures, greatly loved and supremely adored.
How could they not be? They were brimming with life and purpose. Too young to be cynical, yet old enough to have exciting dreams for their lives and futures.
How could this not be? They had great teachers, too.
I am so honored and touched to have been blessed by Uziyah's family whose love for Uziyah is eternal.
It didn't have to be this way.
I trust that San Angelo will always remember you, Uziyah.
I know I will.
#RememberUziyah #UvaldeStrong #WeAreAllWestTexas