In protest of the tragic Robb Elementary School massacre, interfaith groups will be gathering outside the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas this Friday where the first of the three-day 151st Annual National Rifle Association Meeting begins.

Religion News reported that the protest will begin at 1 p.m. Central Time on May 27 and around 400 people of various faiths-Buddhists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims-have already registered for the event as of Thursday morning.

An Interfaith Protest Springing From A Tragic Event

The media outlet said the protest was initiated by Disciples of Christ Rev. Teresa Kim Pecinovsky who immediately contacted Presbyterian Church USA's Megan Dosher Hansen after seeing news of the Uvalde killings fill her social media feed. Pecinovsky told Hansen that they co-organize an interfaith protest at the 2022 NRA Convention.

On Tuesday, a gunman stormed into the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas killing 19 children and two female teachers. The school is only a few hours away from the George R. Brown Convention Center. The LA Times published a listing of the victims in the school's mass shooting, which mostly involved 10-year-old students who have completed their school year and some are even celebrating being a part of the honor roll ceremony.

The children are Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, Alithia Ramirez, Ameri Jo Garza, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, Eliahana Cruz Torres, Jackie Cazares, Jaliah Nicole Silguero, Jayce Luevanos, Jose Flores, Layla Salazar, Makenna Lee Elrod, Rojelio Torres, Uziyah Garcia, Xavier Lopez, Tess Marie Mata, Nevaeh Bravo, Maite Rodriguez, Miranda Mathis, and Eliana Garcia. Of the children, no ages were given for Bravo, Mata, and Rodriguez. While Garcia and Mathis are aged 9 and 11, respectively.

Two teachers, 44-year-old Eva Mireles and 46-year-old Irma Garcia, have been regarded as heroes for sacrificing their lives to protect their students. Both fourth-grade teachers have been serving in the school for years, with Garcia for 23 and Mirales for 17.

Also Read: Pope, Chicago Cardinal Urges US Government To Enforce Gun Control Policies After Texas Mass Shooting Of Children

Hansen told Religion News that it will be a day of prayer including a silent march through the convention center. Hansen said the protest culminates with the recognition of the victims.

While Pecinovsky, a children's book author, raised the power of interfaith leaders coming together. Pecinovsky revealed that news of the Uvalde massacre filled her with grief, rage, and shock, especially having preschool-age children herself. The author also can relate to the incident since she could still clearly recall when the Columbine happened back in her high school days. She stressed that the violence has not stopped since. This is why, she said, bringing interfaith leaders together is important, for through it "civil and human rights happen" because they have "political power too."

Pecinovsky, being a hospice chaplain and former hospital chaplain, recalled the honor of being present for grieving families whose children died of violence. She stressed that one can never forget the images of dead children and the sound of wailing mothers. She raised that most people have become anesthetized to the murder happening in schools and communities. She underscored the reality that the victims are simply "not other people's children" but "are our children."

An Interfaith Protest Aimed At Legal Reforms

According to the protest's registration page, the primary goal of gathering the interfaith community outside the NRA convention is to "call out elected officials for their complicity in the deaths of innocent children" and to "call officials to pass legislation for common sense gun laws, including universal background checks and bringing back the assault weapons ban, which was proven effective." This is on top of lamenting the lives lost in Uvalde.

Various church leaders have expressed remorse at the tragic incident and have urged the US government to implement gun control policies. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops through its Director of Public Affairs Chieko Noguchi condemned the violence and called for prayers. Noguchi also raised the need for the general public to reflect on how to end the violence.

"There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent...We join our prayers along with the community in Uvalde and Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller. As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action," Noguchi said.

Noguchi's statements seemed to be echoed by author and political commentator Glenn Beck, who pointed to the rotting American society as the true reason for the massacre. Beck elaborated that the problem lies in hatred tearing the country apart due to social issues such as racism and political differences.

Related News: Faith Community Providing Mental Health Support Amid Texas School Shooting

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