Sole survivor and teacher of room 111 on a mission for justice and accountability one year later.
UVALDE, Texas — Scattered across businesses and homes in Uvalde this week are bright orange flags.
Their presence is as loud as the pain that former Robb Elementary School teacher and survivor Arnulfo Reyes still feels one year after that tragic day.
“There’s still pain, there’s still discomfort, there’s still just reminders of that day,” Reyes said.
Surrounded by these flags, Reyes reflects on his journey towards healing this past year.
“At the beginning, I had a lot of survivor’s guilt of course. Because I was the only one who survived,” he said.
Reminders of his eleven students surround him at his home, and his arm is still recovering from the gunshot he suffered.
“Some days are just harder than others, but I try to live each day in their honor, for them,” Reyes said, referring to his students. “Because if I don’t, then who is?”
The memories of the 21 lives lost on May 24, 2022 are driving his fight against gun violence.
“I go into a store, I think about it. I go outside, I think about it. It’s just constant anxiety, constant fear and nobody deserves to live like that,” he said. “This is America, the land of the free. I don’t feel free. And (home) of the brave, well, I don’t know about that one. You saw 376 cops out there. They weren’t brave.”
Reyes says the system is broken.
He’s now fighting for accountability from the school district and various law enforcement agencies who responded to Robb Elementary on that day.
“You see the videos, you see all of that. The evidence is there… I don’t know what they are waiting for,” Reyes said. “If they are thinking it’s going to affect their families, look (how) it affected all 21 families, all the other survivors.”
Reyes also has a message for his community.
“Bear with us. We’re not trying to make corruption in the town,” Reyes said. “We’re still here, we’re suffering a year later. We need closure. We need answers.”
Reyes promises his 11 students will not have died in vain. Armed with orange flags bearing their names, he continues on, fighting for gun reform.
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