A person’s style is a representation of who they are. Whether it is a plain white tee or a rainbow-colored dress, everyone has a favorite item of clothing that affirms their identity.
For 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez, it was her green Chuck Taylor Converse signature with a small black heart in the center of the right shoe.
It was the last thing she wore and the only thing her parents could identify her after she was killed in a mass school shooting.
On May 24, Maite, along with 18 other children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, were gunned down by an 18-year-old with an AR-15.
Ana Rodriguez, Maite’s mother, has shared a tribute to her daughter on Facebook and wrote how she was “sweet, charismatic, loving, caring, loyal, free, ambitious, funny, silly, goal-driven and best of all my very best friend!”
Since this tragic event, there has been a longing cry for political leaders across the nation to put an end to gun violence in America. Many people suggested different methods other countries used to prevent their mass shootings.
As no new gun reform laws have been placed yet in Texas, families are calling on others to bring awareness to this recurring situation.
Matthew McConaughey, an Academy Award-winning actor, gave an emotional speech pleading for gun reform at the White House on June 7, using Maite’s green converse to display the shooting’s aftermath.
“These bodies were very different. … They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies were so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them,” McConaughey said during his speech.
“Maite wore green high-top converse with a heart she had hand-drawn on the right toe because it represented her love of nature,” he added. “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.”
Many are calling for the sneaker company Converse to rebrand their shoe around Maite with her signature black heart on the right toe.
“Time for corporate America to stand up for us. @Converse you need to make a statement and become more than a recognition object,” tweeted Manuel Oliver. “This is the time to show respect and support! What are you waiting for?”
Others also suggested the idea to rename the shoe completely after the 10-year-old, donate the proceeds to gun control reform organizations or Uvalde victims’ families and survivors and create a nationwide ad campaign to support it.