11-year-old US school massacre survivor to testify in Congress

11-year-old US school massacre survivor to testify in Congress

11-year-old US school massacre survivor to testify in Congress

11-year-old US school massacre survivor to testify in Congress (Credit: Google)

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  • Miah Cerrillo, 11, smeared herself with her murdered friend’s blood to play dead.
  • A gunman killed 19 of her classmates and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
  • Democratic leadership has been keen to act after the spate of recent mass shootings.
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The package does not include an assault weapons ban or universal background checks.

An 11-year-old girl who smeared herself with her murdered friend’s blood to play dead during last month’s school shooting in the US state of Texas was set to relive her trauma in front of a panel of lawmakers, On Wednesday.

Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, will recount the terrifying ordeal in which an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 of her classmates and two teachers.

Her father, Miguel Cerrillo, told USA Today that she is having nightmares, is still healing from bullet fragments in her back, and is dealing with trauma.

Her testimony comes with Congress facing mounting pressure to respond to spiraling gun violence — and particularly mass shootings — across the country.

Massacres at Miah’s school and days earlier at a supermarket in Buffalo, in upstate New York, have convulsed the nation, reigniting urgent calls for gun safety reforms.

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Read more: Mother who took her daughter to lunch minutes before Texas school massacre faces survivor’s guilt

Miah will speak before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is holding what is expected to be a harrowing hearing on gun violence.

The panel will hear from survivors and family of victims in recent mass shootings, including Felix and Kimberly Rubio, the parents of Lexi Rubio, one of Miah’s murdered schoolmates.

Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician who attended to several victims in Uvalde, and Zeneta Everhart, the mother of a survivor of the racist killing spree that left 10 Black people dead in Buffalo, are also due to speak out.

“It is my hope that all my colleagues will listen with an open heart as gun violence survivors and loved ones recount one of the darkest days of their lives,” Oversight chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said.

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“This hearing is ultimately about saving lives, and I hope it will galvanize my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation to do just that.”

A cross-party group of senators is working on a narrow collection of controls that could develop into their first serious attempt at gun regulation reform in decades.

– ‘Elected to protect us’ –

The package would boost funding for mental health services and school security, narrowly expand background checks, and incentivize states to institute so-called “red flag laws” enabling authorities to confiscate weapons from individuals considered a threat.

Crucially, the package does not include an assault weapons ban or universal background checks, meaning it will fall short of the expectations of President Joe Biden, progressive Democrats, and anti-gun violence activists.

But even this compromise deal has to run the gauntlet of an evenly divided Senate and earn the votes of at least 10 Republicans, although most are against significant regulatory reform.

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“We know that we’re not going to get everything we want, we know that the push for even more meaningful gun safety will continue after this debate, but making real progress is very important,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Democrats are set to pass the much broader package of proposals later Wednesday that includes raising the purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.

The proposals are going nowhere — they do not have the 60 votes they would need to advance in the Senate — but Democratic leadership has been keen to act after the spate of recent mass shootings.

Garnell Whitfield Jr, the son of Buffalo massacre victim Ruth Whitfield, who was 86, testified Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on white supremacist violence.

“We are people of decency. We are taught to love even our enemies, but our enemies don’t love us. So what are we supposed to do with all of our anger and pain?” the retired fire commissioner said in an emotional appeal to senators.

“You expect us to continue to forgive and forget over and over again? And what are you doing? You were elected to protect us and protect our way of life.”

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Read more:  Survivors of the Columbine and Parkland school shootings, express their perspectives on the Robb Elementary shooting.

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