"I Shouldn't Have to Be Here': Uvalde Survivor, 10, Speaks at Gun Reform Rally in Austin
Caitlyne Gonzales, a 10-year-old survivor of the deadly shooting in May, 2022, at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, delivered an emotional speech in favor of gun reform during a rally the Texas State Capitol in Austin on February 28.
The event was organized by several groups, including Moms Demand Action, Giffords Courage, Texas Gun Sense, and several Texas legislators, who were calling for gun-control measures such as raising the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21.
“I shouldn’t have to be here speaking, I’m only 10 years old. But I am, because my friends have no voice no more,” said Gonzalez, in footage posted by Texas State Senator Sarah Eckhardt.
According to local news reports Gonzalez lost her best friend and multiple classmates in the shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022. Credit: Sarah Eckhardt via Storyful
CAITLYNE GONZALEZ: Good afternoon. My name is Caitlyne Gonzalez. I am a fourth grade Robb Elementary survivor from Uvalde, Texas. On May 24th, everything changed. I was on my way to [INAUDIBLE] that day, earlier, before the shooting. As soon as we got to our class, we heard the gunshots. He wobbled my-- He wobbled my--
- She shouldn't have to do this.
- Take your time.
- Love you.
CAITLYNE GONZALEZ: He opened the door knob. He banged on my door. He shot at my door, and a bullet went over my head.
(CRYING) I remember hearing my best friend scream, and I remember hugging her that morning. I hugged her and Eliahna at the awards ceremony, told her I would call her after school. I never got to that call. And I was watching the news, I saw that Eliahna was missing. I texted Jackie, Eliahna is missing. Are you OK? The next day I saw the news with my mom. The worst news any child should get. I shouldn't have to be here right now, but I am, because my friends don't have a voice no more.
Greg Abbott's done nothing to protect me or my friends. I had to wait there for 77 minutes, and then I heard the glass break, I had to run to the funeral home barefoot with no shoes on. I had splinters. I had glass in my foot, and my foot was bruised up. I had no phone, and I kept asking my mom, where is she? And she said, I'm at the Civic Center. They texted us to go there. I shouldn't have to be here speaking. I'm only 10 years old, but I am, because my friends have no voice no more. Thank you for your guys' time. Have a wonderful day.
- She's right. She should not be here.