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'31 Bags for Change': Richardson family sets up memorial to honor victims of Uvalde and Buffalo mass shootings

The memorial is called “31 Bags for Change". It includes 19 maroon backpacks to represent the 19 children killed at Robb Elementary.

RICHARDSON, Texas — A Richardson family is honoring the victims of recent mass shootings across the U.S., including Uvalde, through a memorial on their front lawn.  

The homeowner, Brandon O’Neill, said he and his wife are trying to “spark a conversation” concerning gun violence. 

In the last two weeks, Americans have mourned the loss of several victims in a nation that has been plagued with hate crimes and massacres -- especially in the last few years. 

“If this is not enough when will it be enough? To me that’s the question we need to ask ourselves," Brandon O'Neill said.

Credit: WFAA
Brandon and Heather O'Neill in front of their Richardson home.

On May 14, 10 people were killed, and three people were injured in a racially-motivated attack at Tops Market in Buffalo, New York. The shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, wore military gear and livestreamed with a helmet camera when he opened fire, targeting Black people. 

Gendron surrendered to police and has been indicted on first-degree murder charges. He’s due back in court on June 9. 

On May 24, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos stormed into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and opened fire in classrooms, killing 19 children and two teachers and injuring several others before being fatally shot by law enforcement. 

The O'Neill's memorial is called "31 bags for Change."

Credit: WFAA

Their front yard features 19 maroon backpacks to represent the 19 children killed in Uvalde. Maroon is Robb Elementary's school color. Two pink backpacks represent the two teachers who died.

On the opposite side of their yard, 10 canvas shopping bags represent the 10 Black people killed at the Buffalo supermarket.

“When I enter a grocery store or a concert or a church, I don’t expect to be entering a war zone," Brandon's wife, Heather O'Neill, said. 

“We're not OK. The neighbors we’ve talked to are not OK. The children are not OK," Heather O'Neill said. "I think we’re all fed up and I think we really want to have some conversations and have leaders listen."

The backpacks are arranged to look like a classroom photo. 

The grocery bags are set up like a grocery store aisle.

They feature no names to try to show passersby, "it is an every town problem," Brandon O'Neill said.

Credit: WFAA

"I think we spent a lot of time over the last few years kind of yelling our opinions at one another, and I think we wanted to create something that made people listen," said Brandon O'Neill.

The family has also set up an Instagram page about the tribute.

"The majority of people are tired of this, so please start listening to to the people because we’ve had enough. We don’t want ot lose any more children or parents or siblings or grandparents," Heather O'Neill said. 

"We all want change, because we’re not doing OK.”

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