Uvalde mom Evadulia Orta reflects on the first Mother’s Day without son Rojelio
The tragic loss of a child is a pain no mother should ever have to endure, and for Evadulia Orta, the approaching Mother’s Day holiday is a painful reminder of her dear son Rojelio, who was senselessly murdered along with 18 of his classmates and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last year.
Orta still holds on to the last Mother’s Day card Rojelio gave her, cherishing memories she can hold in her hands. However, what makes this upcoming holiday difficult are the things she can’t touch. “I won’t get a Mother’s Day card from him this year. I won’t get a hug from him. It will be difficult”, said Orta.
Rojelio was described as a playful and outgoing child who loved Pokémon, board games, the lottery, and playing soccer. He was eager to help others and lived a loving life, always with a “smile on his face”. Orta’s surviving children Federico, 11, and Mary, who was only six when Rojelio was murdered, are both receiving counseling to help them cope with the tragic loss of their brother.
While visiting Rojelio’s grave on Mother’s Day gives the family some solace, Orta is also speaking out and fighting for justice. She is working with Moms Demand Action group, a grassroots movement fighting for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence and supporting House Bill 2744, which raises the age for the purchase of some semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.
The Texas House committee advanced the “Raise the Age” gun bill on May 8th, surprising many gun reform activists. However, the bill still faces opposition from many Republicans, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who believes that the public will be better informed in the coming days about why and how these mass shootings occur. Abbott previously suggested that raising the age to own an assault weapon was unconstitutional.
Dallas Democratic State Representative Rafael Anchía supports the bill and is working to tighten gun laws and potentially save lives. A new University of Texas poll revealed that 76 percent of Texas voters support raising the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21, including 64 percent of Republican voters, showing that gun safety is a priority for many Texans.
Orta is not only fighting for gun reform but also for increased police accountability after hundreds of law enforcement officers waited more than an hour to breach the fourth-grade classroom and confront the shooter. “I blame the officers who were there that day who didn’t come into the classroom to help my son”, said Orta.
Mother’s Day will be a painful reminder for many families who have lost loved ones due to senseless gun violence. Though the road to justice is long and arduous, Orta and many others continue to fight for change, for their children and for future generations to come.
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