Matthew McConaughey delivered an emotional address at the White House on Tuesday as his wife Camila Alves held up a pair of green Converse sneakers belonging to a victim of last month's shooting in Uvalde.
The 52-year-old Uvalde native said the shoes were the only thing that made the body of 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez identifiable. Rodriguez was one of the 19 children killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24.
Urging lawmakers to pass gun control legislation, McConaughey said, per The Guardian: "We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns."Check out what he had to say below:
Salvador Ramos legally purchased two AR-15-style rifles just days after his 18th birthday, one of which was used during the rampage last month. The teen was eventually shot dead by law enforcement officers.
As well as the 19 school children he killed, Ramos had also shot dead two teachers.
McConaughey, who is a gun owner himself, said during his 22-minute address: "To make the loss of these lives matter my wife and I, Camila spent most of last week on the ground in Uvalde, Texas. We shared stories, tears, and memories.
"The common thread, independent of the anger, confusion and sadness, it was the same: how can these families continue to honour these deaths by keeping the dreams of these children and teachers alive. Again, how can the loss of these lives matter?"[[imagecaption|| Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy]]
McConaughey went on to reveal that his mother had taught kindergarten less than a mile from Robb elementary school.
Speaking about the drive back to his hometown, he said: "I've got to tell you, even from inside of our vehicle, you could feel the shock in the town, you could feel the pain, the denial, the disillusion, anger, blame, sadness. The loss of lives and dreams halted."
The Academy Award-winning actor then spoke about the hopes and dreams of the young victims, revealing that 10-year-old Alithia Ramirez had dreamt of attending an art school.
Ten-year-old Maite Rodriguez, he said, wanted to become a marine biologist and was even in "contact with Corpus Christi University".
McConaughey said: "Maite wore green high top converse, with a heart she had drawn on the right toe, because they represent her love of nature."
The actor then pointed to the shoes his wife, Alves, was holding and explained that Maite would "wear these shoes every day, the green converse with a heart on the right toe".
He went on: "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?"