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Texas

Elementary school survivor Robb becomes the protector of friends killed in a school shooting.

UWALDE, Texas “Here, you’re done,” Caitlin Gonzalez said as she tied the balloon to Jackie Cazares‘ Cross.

Jackie was one of 21 victims killed at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022. Memorial cross in uvalde The downtown square is where Caitlin comes to visit and feels more connected to her best friend.

Once upon a time, Jackie and Caitlin constantly spent the night at each other’s house.

“On May 24th at our awards ceremony, (Jackie) told my mom, ‘Miss Gladys, I want to go to your guys so we can eat pancakes again,’” Caitlin said.

Caitlin says she still talks to Jackie daily at her mural and memorial.

“I’m just telling (Jackie), for example, about what I did today, about the important things of the day,” she said.

Caitlin said she heard Jackie’s answers in her heart.

Unfortunately, their next sleepover never came.

“We just kept hearing bangs and bangs and bangs,” she said. “I heard a scream and it sounded like Jackly, but I didn’t think it was Jackie.”

Caitlin keeps Jackie by her side, wearing bows with Jackie’s name in her hair. The 10-year-old said she was not afraid to use her voice to make a difference.

“I have messages for Pete Arredondo and all the law enforcement that were there that day. Hand over your badge and leave. You don’t deserve to wear it, Caitlin said. Uvalde CISD school board 24 august.

“When people say you are an activist, why are you an activist?” asked reporter Lee Waldman.

“Just like for my friends who no longer have a voice,” Caitlin said.

“What do you want to say to your friends who no longer have a voice?” Waldman asked.

“Only that they don’t deserve to die in vain,” Caitlin replied.

Caitlin is constantly present at student council meetings. Its goal is to hold adults accountable. She also made trips to Washington, D.C. to ask for changes to gun laws.

“I’ll just tell them to accept the assault weapons ban,” she said.

While these past seven months have been filled with good and bad days, Caitlin has a support system for survivors of other school shootings.

“I met someone from Oxford, Sandy Hook,” Caitlin said. “From Parkland and Columbine, what… that was a long time ago.

They all promise the same thing.

“We must not allow children or teachers to die in vain,” she said.

Find out more about KSAT’s Uvalde coverage here.

Copyright 2023 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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