Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves McConaughey joined Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for an emotional press conference on Tuesday inside The White House press briefing room.
The actor and Uvalde, Texas native took the podium to call on lawmakers to pass reasonable gun responsibility measures and to share details of the 21 victims who died just a few short weeks ago in his hometown in yet another mass shooting.
During his speech, McConaughey revealed several items left behind from the victims. One item that gripped the room was a pair of green Converse hi-top sneakers that 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez was wearing the day of the shooting. Her favorite pair of sneakers featured a hand-drawn heart in marker over her right toes – making it easily identifiable in the aftermath of the violent incident.
During her husband’s news conference, Camila held up a pair of green Converse shoes.
“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,” McConaughey said.
It’s unclear whether the green sneakers were the same ones worn by Rodriguez or whether they were similar shoes of the same brand and style.
McConaughey’s speech highlighting Rodriguez’s favorite shoes sparked quick reaction on social media. Some users are calling on Converse to rename its green hi-top sneaker in honor of Rodriguez or to even produce the same shoe with a broken heart on the right toe in her memory. Others have shared photos of them drawing hearts on their own high-top Converse.
And, as of this report, the “Amazon Green” colorway of Converse’s high-top All-Star Classic sneaker style is sold out on its e-commerce site, Converse.com.
FN has reached out to Converse for comment.
According to McConaughey, Rodriguez wanted to be a marine biologist and that she was already in contact with Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi for her future college enrollment. He added that Rodriguez’s mother, Ana, shared with him a letter that her daughter wrote about accomplishing her dreams. “Her mom said if Maite’s letter could help someone accomplish her dream, that then her death would have an impact, and it would mean her dying had a point and wasn’t pointless — that it would make the loss of her life matter,” McConaughey said.
The letter reads: “Marine biologist. I want to pass school to get to my dream college. My dream college is in Corpus Christi, by the ocean. I need to live next to the ocean because I want to be a marine biologist. Marine biologists study animals and the water. Most of the time, I will be in a lab. Sometimes, I will be on TV.”
Later in his press briefing, McConaughey highlighted reasonable reforms that lawmakers could take to help curb these senseless acts of violence. “We heard from so many people,” McConaughey said. “Families of the deceased — mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. Texas Rangers, hunters, Border Patrol, and responsible gun owners who won’t give up their Second Amendment right to bear arms. And you know what they all said? ‘We want secure and safe schools, and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get these damn guns.’”
He went on to state that America needs mental healthcare, background checks, red-flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them. “We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 rifle to 21,” McConaughey said. “We need a waiting period for those rifles. These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations to our nation, states, communities, schools, and homes.”
McConaughey continued, “Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. These regulations are not a step back; they’re a step forward for a civil society and — and the Second Amendment.
“Look, is this a cure-all? Hell no. But people are hurting — families are, parents are,” McConaughey added. “And look, as divided as our country is, this gun responsibility issue is one that we agree on more than we don’t. But this should be a nonpartisan issue. This should not be a partisan issue.”