Actor Matthew McConaughey delivered a lengthy and at-times emotional speech at the White House on Tuesday, June 7, recounting the stories of several students killed at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
McConaughey had traveled to Washington to meet with lawmakers as they consider gun-related legislation. In his remarks in the White House press briefing room, the Texan referred repeatedly to the difficulty of identifying the youngest victims of the May 24 attack, which left 19 students and two teachers dead, due to the damage caused by the semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle used in the massacre.
Maite Rodriguez, one of the students shot and killed, had wanted to be a marine biologist, McConaughey said, and had already made contact with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi about attending in the future.
“Maite wore green hightop Converse with a heart she had drawn on the right toe because they represented her love of nature,” McConaughey said, as his wife, Camila Alves, held the pair up for reporters to see. "These are the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting.
“How about that,” said McConaughey, slamming his fist on the podium. Credit: White House via Storyful
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: We also met Ana and Danilo-- Danilo, the mom and the stepdad of nine-year-old Maite Rodriguez. And Maite wanted to be a marine biologist. She was already in contact with Corpus Christi University of A&M for her future college enrollment. Nine-years-old.
Maite cared for the environment so strongly that when the city asked her mother if they could release some balloons into the sky in her memory, her mom said, oh, no. Maite wouldn't want to litter. Maite wore green high top Converse with a heart she had hand drawn on the right toe because they represented her love of nature.
Camilla's got these shoes. Can you show these shoes, please? Wore these everyday. Green Converse with a heart on the right toe. These are the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting. How about that [INAUDIBLE]?
Maite wrote a letter. Her mom said, if Maite's letter could help someone accomplish her dream, but then her death would have an impact, and it would mean her dying had a point and wasn't pointless. That it would make the loss of her life matter.
The letter reads, "marine biologists, I want to pass school to get to my dream college. My dream college is in Corpus Christi by the ocean. I need to live next to the ocean because I want to be a marine biologist. Marine biologists study animals and the water. Most of the time, I will be in a lab. Sometimes, I will be on TV."