McConaughey: They Had to Identify Uvalde Victim From These Shoes

Actor makes emotional speech at White House
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2022 8:42 PM CDT
McConaughey: They Had to Identify Uvalde Victim From These Shoes
Matthew McConaughey holds a picture or Alithia Ramirez, 10, who was killed in the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, as he speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, June 7, 2022.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Matthew McConaughey made a surprise appearance at the White House on Tuesday and discussed some of the victims of the school shooting in his hometown, including 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez, who wanted to be a marine biologist. She wore green Converse shoes "with a heart she had hand drawn on the right toe because they represented her love of nature," the actor said, per the Washington Post. His wife, Camila Alves, was sitting nearby with the shoes. "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," McConaughey said.

McConaughey said he and Alves had spent much of the last week in Uvalde meeting with the families of victim of last month's mass shooting, the Hill reports. He said every parent they spoke to expressed that "they want their children’s dreams to live on," per the AP. "They want to make their loss of life matter." McConaughey said the Texas town was where he had learned responsible gun ownership. He said his mother taught kindergarten less than a mile from Robb Elementary School, where 19 children and two teachers were killed.

In his 22-minute speech, McConaughey called for reforms to gun laws including universal background checks raising the age limit to buy an AR-15-style rifle from 18 to 21. He said gun responsibility should not be a partisan issue. "Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals," he said. "These regulations are not a step back, they’re a step forward for civil society and the Second Amendment." (Read more Uvalde mass shooting stories.)

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