Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed in the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C., with survivors of the Fourth of July Highland Park, Ill., mass shooting. Rubio gave an emotional speech and demanded lawmakers take action against gun violence.
- My name is Kimberly Rubio. When it comes to public speaking, I'm usually an observer. As a news reporter, as an involved and informed citizen, being on this side of the lectern is not something I relish. My voice shakes and my grief is evident, overwhelming.
But if my words resonate with even one politician and encourage them to push for change, then I'll be saving so many parents from the devastation that is burying your child. That's reason enough for me to stand up and speak on days like today when I barely want to get out of bed.
- We love you.
- Imagination is a hauntingly beautiful thing, able to conjure up images from a few descriptive words. My mind has been running nonstop since May 24, 2022, when my daughter, Lexi, was murdered in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. I try to view room 111 through her eyes.
I picture which side of the room she and her classmates huddled against as an 18-year-old man fired toward them, killing them so swiftly that their teacher, who lay bleeding nearby, said he didn't hear a whimper or cry. I envision the scene facing the justice of the peace, this tall man with a strong community presence whose son plays basketball with my son, whose daughter graduated alongside my own as he walked into my youngest daughter's classroom, tasked with pronouncing dead multiple 9, 10, and 11-year-olds.
Now, I want you to picture my face, my husband's face as we read our daughter's death certificate. Our faces contorted in pain, tears flowing freely as we read her cause of death-- gunshot wound to the head.
I was with my daughter at 10:54 that morning. And there are a lot of what-ifs. What if I had taken her home after the awards ceremony? What if the doors had just locked properly-- the outside door leading into the school, the classroom door that the shooter seemed to intentionally seek out? What if the police had immediately engaged the subject?
These are all questions that do not weigh heavily on lawmakers. After all, they are not us, Kimberly and Felix Rubio, Lexi's parents. They are not school staff or police. They are not Uvalde law enforcement. But there is one question that should be on the forefront of their minds-- what if the gunman never had access to an assault weapon?
I want that question to be the first thing to cross their mind in the morning and the last thought they have before they go to bed each night, because we are no longer asking for change, we are demanding it. And we are angry as hell.