Thursday, 26 May 2022

UPDATED: Meghan Pays Respects 'as a Mother' in Uvalde, Texas in Wake of Devastating Tragedy

There was a collective sense of devastation felt around the world when news of the horrific Texas shooting broke. There are certain situations in which words cannot adequately convey the calamity of the circumstances -- the senseless murder of nineteen schoolchildren and two of their teachers is one of them. Like so many, the Duchess of Sussex wanted to pay her respects "as a mother, to offer her condolences and support in person to a community experiencing unimaginable grief".

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Meghan travelled to a memorial outside the courthouse in Uvalde, Texas today.

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Following a mass shooting in Oregon in 2015, Meghan spoke about the appalling situation in the States. Describing it as "shameful", she said "it's a hugely controversial issue" bringing up a plethora of other issues including "race relations, religious intolerances". She added: "Since we can't solve each of those in one fell swoop, the logical situation would be to have much stricter gun laws."

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People reports:

'On Tuesday, an 18-year-old gunman wearing body armor crashed his car in a ditch near the school, then, after getting past law enforcement, entered a classroom and locked himself inside, killing 21 people.

Meghan and Prince Harry previously paid tribute to the victims of the 2019 terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 50 people died and dozens more were injured after a gunman opened fire on two mosques. 

They left flowers outside New Zealand House in London along with a note. Meghan wrote: "Our deepest condolences. We are with you." Harry signed his name with "Arohanui," which is Maori for "best wishes."

Meghan walked through the memorial, filled with floral tributes and white crosses bearing the names of the victims with messages including "You will be missed".

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Meghan placed a bouquet of white roses at the cross of 8-year-old Uziyah Garcia.

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The Los Angeles Times reports:

'The boy’s father, Sergio Garcia, 35, of San Angelo, Texas, described Uziyah as an energetic, loving and gentle boy. Garcia hadn’t spend much time with his son over the last eight months, as the boy’s parents were in a custody dispute.

But that didn’t stop Uziyah from spilling his love for his father in their short moments together.

Garcia said his son always expressed his love. He didn’t say goodbye without saying “I love you,” and wished his dad a good day at work in the mornings.

“He was my world. He was my everything,” Garcia said. “Now I’m never going to get to hold him again, never going to get to kiss him again.”

Garcia sobbed as he remembered teaching his only son how to ride a bike without training wheels, and playing basketball and football with him.'

Uziya with his dad Sergio and sisters Micah and Desiah. A relative of the family has organised a Go Fund Me to help cover funeral arrangements and expenses.

GMA reports: "Among the shooting victims remembered at the memorial site are two fourth-grade teachers, several sets of cousins, a 10-year-old boy whose family called him "the life of the party," a 10-year-old girl who loved to play softball and a 10-year-old boy described by his mom as a "very smart and loving child."

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Meghan was visibly emotional after the visit and was comforted by Mandana Dayani, the President of Archewell. With many thanks to Jozzzaphen for sharing the video via Twitter.

Mandaya shared this via Instagram yesterday.

AP writes:

'Uvalde is a largely Latino town of some 16,000 people about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the Mexican border. Robb Elementary, which has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades, is a single-story brick structure in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

Hundreds packed into bleachers at the town’s fairgrounds for a vigil Wednesday and the crowd swelled so big some stood around the speakers on the dirt arena. Some cried. Some closed their eyes tight, mouthing silent prayers. Parents wrapped their arms around their children, as the speakers lead prayers for healing.'

Heart-breaking scenes from the vigil last night.

World Central Kitchen, which Archewell works closely with, was on hand at the vigil, serving hundreds of meals. They will be there in the coming days to offer support to a community which has been left reeling.


The scene at Robb Elementary School where twenty-one treasured and loved souls so terribly had their lives taken from them.

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CNN shared: "One of the 10-year-olds aspired to be a lawyer someday. Another loved video games and anything with wheels. And another was saving up for a trip to Disney World."

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Naveah Bravo's cousin told the Washington Post the ten-year-old "brought a smile to everyone's face".

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The impact has been felt by parents all over the world.

One of the beloved teachers, Irma Garcia, gave her life to protect her students. A Go Fund Me created for her family reads: "Irma Garcia. A wife and mother to 4 children. Sweet, kind, loving. Fun with the greatest personality. A wonderful 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary that was a victim in a Texas school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. She sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom. She was a hero. She was loved by many and will truly be missed."

Irma's husband Joe "passed away due to grief" today, Irma's nephew confirmed. Irma and Joe shared four children who have now lost both their parents. They were high school sweethearts, married over twenty years.

Afterwards, Meghan quietly visited Herby Ham Activity Center to drop off two crates filled with sandwiches and desserts for blood donors. One volunteer told Buzzfeed news talked to volunteer Georjean Burnell, who said: "She just kind of walked in with her crew and started putting ice waters in the bucket with us and laying out chips for the people who were needing snacks before and after donating. It's funny, we didn't even know it was her until after she left and now we're so sad. I mean, to be honest, we thought she was our neighbor." One volunteer who recognised Meghan asked her if she would take a photo with the team.

More from the Buzzfeed article:

"I had no idea who she was. She just was carrying on a conversation like her and I knew each other for years," volunteer Gloria Contreras, 40, told BuzzFeed News. "We were just talking about, you know, the situation and what happened what we were doing here. I told her about us giving out water to the people and feeding them."

"I even talked about my personal life, telling her about my son and my family and, you know, coming to Texas because she told me she was from Santa Barbara and I said, 'Well, you need to come to Texas!'" Contreras said.'

Ellie Hall from Buzzfeed shared a Twitter thread on the chance discovery of the story. 

A world where children cannot safely go to school is a world in need of radical change. I don't know if you've ever heard of Dunblane. In 1996, a former Boy Scout leader entered the Scotland primary school and murdered sixteen pupils and their teacher. Tennis superstar Andy Murray was in another class in the school that day. The massacre utterly devastated the UK. Subsequently, a public outcry pushed the introduction of stricter gun laws -- some of the toughest anti-gun legislation in the world. To this day, Dunblane strikes fear and evokes desperately painful memories when mentioned. It left a ripple effect of grief and loss which has never healed. To see this happening time and time again in the US without change -- despite so many pleas and protests -- is unimaginable.

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To our readers in Texas and the US, we are all thinking of you.

UPDATED: An insightful update from BuzzFeed News:

'Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, told the director of a community center in Uvalde, Texas, that she held her children Archie and Lilibet “a little bit tighter” when she learned about the elementary school shooting that killed 21 people, including 19 children.

“She wanted to come by and just see everything that was going on with the blood drive and to help. Her whole thing was she wanted to help,” Rankin said. “She was going to be incognito, he told me that she was going to be wearing a T-shirt and ripped blue jeans and a hat and a mask and no one was going to — he didn’t want anyone to know who she was because she did not want the press attention.”

Rankin said she was told Meghan was on her way to a nearby H-E-B grocery store to pick up food platters for the center’s volunteers and people who were giving blood.

“She went and picked up trays and trays of sandwiches and snacks and everything for the people who were coming in and giving blood. It was for our workers. It was for myself,” Rankin said. “It was for anybody that wanted to, you know, have lunch.”

When Meghan arrived, she said, the duchess's security team did a sweep and then asked the director to meet her outside the center. “I did, and we visited for a few minutes. She did have her mask on. She kept it on the whole time. There were no cameras whatsoever.”

34 comments:

  1. A very simple and kind gesture from Meghan. It’s great to show that little acts of service can come from anyone and can mean everything to the people who receive them. I love that some people there didn’t even know who she was and were just touched by her ordinary nature and helpfulness. She was just there to lend a hand where she could.

    Thanks for this detailed and thoughtfully written blog.

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  2. Thank you Charlotte. I suggest you turn off comments for this posting. It’s heartbreaking and a hot political issue in the USA

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    1. Thank you Anon. I'm going to monitor very closely and turn them off if necessary.

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  3. Thank you Charlotte for publishing this. It is a very palpable honest telling, of an authentic reaction & actions, taken by a woman/mother who just wanted to reach out & help… despite the trappings of her fame. Thank you & may our country Finally be Moved ( like the UK) to take action!!!

    Becca USA

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  4. Respect to Meghan. Condolences to all the families suffering unimaginable grief. Thank you, Charlotte.

    R

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  5. Thank you Charlotte for writing such a kind and thoughtful post, I’m just so sorry that it was necessary for you to write about yet another horrific and completely avoidable tragedy. Once again Meghan is inspiring so many with her care, compassion and how she is putting her compassion into action.

    I’m sorry that you will receive nasty comments especially around such a tragedy. I would hope that those who might disagree, will for once be silent and take this opportunity to look inside to see what is filling their hearts with the need to write hateful comments.

    Today is a day to hug your family, check in on your neighbors and tell your friends how much they mean to you, tomorrow might be too late.

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  6. The tragedy is that so many elected officials take money from the gun lobby and the gun manufacturers. They are owned by them. Our system is more corrupt than most people want to admit.

    R

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    1. The story about what happened changes every hour with new updates. There are thousands of law abiding gun owners in the US and thousands of people who disobey the state and federal gun laws. The rules in each state should be consistent and controlled by a federal data base , but this is not the forum to debate this. Let’s give Meghan the kudos she deserves for trying to be private and pay respects. She showed up in a tragedy and that’s the story here on this page.

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    2. Susan in Florida27 May 2022 at 21:15

      I don’t mean to stay this comment in a scolding tone , but opinions about the system and who makes American campaign donations shouldn’t be discussed here.

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    3. It seemed that Charlotte's very appropriate comment, which I will quote here, opened the door to questioning why things don't change here. I offered one of the main reasons why.

      "A world where children cannot safely go to school is a world in need of radical change. I don't know if you've ever heard of Dunblane. In 1996, a former Boy Scout leader entered the Scotland primary school and murdered sixteen pupils and their teacher. Tennis superstar Andy Murray was in another class in the school that day. The massacre utterly devastated the UK. Subsequently, a public outcry pushed the introduction of stricter gun laws -- some of the toughest anti-gun legislation in the world. To this day, Dunblane strikes fear and evokes desperately painful memories when mentioned. It left a ripple effect of grief and loss which has never healed. To see this happening time and time again in the US without change -- despite so many pleas and protests -- is unimaginable."

      R

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    4. I am very aware of Dunblane. All Americans who fight for stricter gun control are.

      Similarly, the Port Arthur massacre in Australia, in 1996, resulted in serious changes to the gun laws there. Unfortunately, the US has a far larger population, a complex polity and a Constitution that wouldn't exist if not for states' rights guarantees back there in the late 18th century, and a Revolutionary War/pioneer history that has enshrined guns in the nation's founding mythology. Overcoming all that will be a daunting task, and it may never happen.

      But if I were a religious woman, I'd be down on my knees now, begging God that it would.

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  7. As someone who has a 10 year old 4th grader here in Texas, not far from Uvalde, some of us need to come here for a fleeting moment to take a deep breath. Please keep the comments respectful and in honor of all these babies we lost. We lost them. The world lost them. Charlotte, does such hard work to make sure things stay classy around here, so let’s do our part. Thank you, Charlotte for all that you do. Hugs from Texas.

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  8. Sincere Condolences to the families. Such a terrible tragedy.

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  9. Simply put, may they rest in peace. It will most likely be a lifetime of memories and grief for their families and loved ones. I wish them the healing power of God. It is another outcry and once again a pattern of school shooting statistics in the USA. It is good to see the presence of familiar people like Anderson Cooper and Meghan Markle.

    Charlotte - I hope your blog will be there for as long as possible. Now and then, it is good to see your expedited well researched stories that meet the times and circumstances of global news beyond the main subjects of the blog.

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  10. What a tragedy. No matter what, those kids will never come back, and their families will forever be bereft of them. This is exactly the sort of off the cuff, honest, heartfelt thing I expect from Meghan. Good for her to reaching out and offering support. I imagine every parent is feeling particularly fragile at the moment and are holding their babies extra close.

    Don't want to turn this into a political comment, but just cannot believe the hubris of some people. That somehow their right to own automatic weapons trumps other's right to live. I just don't understand.

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  11. Thank you for this post Charlotte. We are utterly devastated by this. :(

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  12. Such an avoidable tragedy. Meghan going there and paying respects and highlighting the grief that is felt by all but especially the families and the community and offing support to those who are helping there is not surprising. Here in Australia like in Scotland there was a mass shooting in 1996 and very strict gun controls were brought in throughout the country and thankfully nothing like this has every happened again. Children shouldn’t be afraid to go to school😢

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  13. Kind gestures from Meghan. Everyone in the US is appalled by (yet another) this senseless and preventable tragedy. This could've been prevented if our politicians would only act. We are tired of our children dying, and as an educator, I'm tired of these acts being an acceptable occupational hazard. -op

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  14. "You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks."
    Winston S. Churchil. Thank God Meghan keep on doing good without listening to the haters , this is part of what I admire and learn from her. Charlotte thanks for giving us a sane community to read about meghan

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    1. Thanks Charlotte for your great Work .

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  15. Thank you Charlotte, because thanks to your article, I learn more: we can't count on some pathetic poor tabloids to communicate to us and bring to light such important facts because more busy writing bullshit about the Duchess of Sussex inspired by hatred and jealousy.
    As always, Meghan goes straight to the point by following her heart and that's what makes her remarkable.
    Peace, strength and support to all these bereaved families, may the deceased rest in peace and above all may reason and sensitivity win the hearts of all these Americans who give more value to a law on the carrying of weapons than to the preservation of human life.

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  16. Thank you Charlotte, because thanks to your article, I learn more: we can't count on some pathetic poor tabloids to communicate to us and bring to light such important facts because more busy writing bullshit about the Duchess of Sussex inspired by hatred and jealousy.
    As always, Meghan goes straight to the point by following her heart and that's what makes her remarkable.
    Peace, strength and support to all these bereaved families, may the deceased rest in peace and above all may reason and sensitivity win the hearts of all these Americans who give more value to a law on the carrying of weapons than to the preservation of human life.

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  17. I listened to a brief interview on NPR with a parent from the Sandy Hook shooting and he said that the only thing you can do to help is just show up. While showing up certainly cannot change the outcome, it tells the grieving parents that their children did matter. That they were important. I live in Texas and we now hear the agonizing news that law enforcement waited an hour until a special tactical team arrived. One mother was handcuffed for trying to get into the school; after being uncuffed, she managed to get in and take her children out. The initials officers did not want to get shot so they just waited. I truly doubt anything will change. I would be afraid to send kids to school because there is so much bullying, which ultimately leads to these situations.

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  18. Here's some more detail about Meghan's visit -- it seems she left quickly when Beto showed up. https://news.yahoo.com/meghan-markle-said-she-held-205035568.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall

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  19. hmm the duchess is a mother he came as grieving mom who cared

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  20. UGH - As the first poster stated, " It’s heartbreaking and a hot political issue in the USA" I have done an enormous amount of reading on the topic. It is a tragedy in more ways than just one.

    Charlotte you have covered a very difficult topic and Meghan appearance with grace. Unfortunately, I'm perplexed with why she would get on a plane and fly to Uvalde with staff and security. And given your guidelines state, "It's not the place to discuss politics." I'll leave it there (even though I have a lot to say). I'm still processing and figuring out where or how I can put effort into creating change and am trying to understand both sides.

    Two final things. First, reading a lot of articles and listening to others about what happened, have made me respect even more the work that Duchess Kate (and William) are doing towards mental health, support of new mothers, and programs that drive greater awareness and acceptance. And second, for those that would like more information on this extremely horrible tragedy, this USAToday article covers the timeline: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/05/27/uvalde-texas-shooting-police-response/9964966002/ It will make you cry and leave you feeling hopeless. On top of all that, it happening so close to our Memorial Day doubles the grief. I respect all of the other comments I have read on this post.

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  21. All previous comments hit home. After one of this horrific events my European friends, tho they know this happens at regular intervals, just don’t know why we as a country don’t do something, any thing to address the problem. Enough on that, Meghan did something that a lot of us would do if we could, so enough criticism on that subject, I personally don’t think this act of hers was just an act of self importance, but I true manifestation of empathy & deep sadness. No comments on wardrobe, not appropriate.




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  22. There are reasons that the US can't (or won't) follow Scotland's example. Scotland has about 5.5 million people; the US, about 360 million. And the population density from 27,000 people per square mile to 1 to 6 people per square mile. People have differ reasons for thinking they need a gun depending on varying factors such as density. And the US likes to think of itself as having a Wild West culture, one of "freedom," which means doing what you want as an individual and not for the public good. I don't feel we are united as a country any more either. I won't give examples because that gets political, but we have to also realize that these events result from intense anger. When that anger has access to weapons, shootings occur.

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  23. For those not in the US, there have been 14 "mass shootings" since Evalde. Right before Evalde, ten people of color were killed at a grocery store in upstate New York. Immediately after Evalde, the National Rifle Association had the huge national meeting and displays in a nearby Texas city. One protestor had a sign that read: "Is it just me or is this a bad time to have a gun convention?" So nothing looks like it will change.

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  24. I don't even know how to begin to address this appalling tragedy, except to say that if the framers of our Constitution could observe the national catastrophe wrought by the Second Amendment, they would wonder why in God's name we hadn't repealed or modified it decades ago.

    They did, after all, provide us with the means to do precisely that. The Constitution is not graven in stone and has been amended many times.

    As for the Duchess, I really don't want to read, much less engage in, discussions of whether she should have gone to Uvalde or why she went. Such debates are quite irrelevant and superfluous, in the circumstances.

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  25. It was nice of Meghan to go and pay her respects. what happened there is a tragedy but more so since this has happened so many times in the usa. you think after sandy hook this would change but it has not and it is absolutely apalling. I have been to uvalde and i truly feel for the parents and families. I know how deep the loss is of losing someone you love as i recently lost my own mother. to lose a child is a pain that is unbearable. they do not need thoughts and prayers they need gun control in the usa and follow the route of countries like australia and canada.
    thanks for a beautiful post I broke down seeing the instagram video with cooper

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    1. Melissa, you always write comments that go right to the heart of the topic. I am so sorry about the loss of your mom.

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  26. I'm going to change the subject briefly if that's OK. I feel I should write about Meghan and the Jubilee on this site, so I'm commenting here that seeing her "squad" of her college friend Lindsay, her wonderfully outspoken makeup guy Daniel, and her long-time hairdresser united in London warms my soul. I'm very sad about the situation in Ukraine and was surprised that this cheered me, but I realized it is because Meghan and her friends have remained friends through it all. There must be such honesty and purity for that to happen. And such fun! Daniel speaks of belly laughs! I wish I could be at least an honorary member of her squad.

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  27. Dear Charlotte, I am just finding this article. Thank you for reporting on Meghan’s trip to Uvalde to support the community. I didn’t know she had gone there until I found this post. Everything you wrote is pitch-perfect.
    Renée

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Welcome to Mad About Meghan! We do so look forward to reading your thoughts. Constructive, fair debate is always encouraged. Hateful, derogatory terms and insults are not welcome here. This space focuses on Harry and Meghan, not any other member of the Royal family. It's not the place to discuss politics either. Thank you for reading, we look forward to your comments :)