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‘We are here for humanity’: Boston artists honor Texas shooting victims at Copley Square event

The Artist Initiative for Revolution, also known as AIR Boston, created a ring of backpacks full of flowers brought by the local community.

Members of the public bring flowers to put into backpacks representing each life lost at the elementary school shooting in Texas. Gwen Egan/Boston.com

2,123 miles from the tragic elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a group of Boston artists and activists created a space for “healing and memorialization, but also celebration of life” according to organizers.

The Artist Initiative for Revolution, also known as Air Boston, took to social media to organize an event in honor of the 19 children and two adults lost at Robb Elementary School this week.

The group took to social media to gather support for the event, posting images of flyers, TikTok videos, and an image containing 19 drawn backpacks alongside the words, “Who gets to grow up in America?”

The event took place at Copley Square Thursday and began around 5 p.m., with people quickly gathering in the area. Standing in front of the historic Trinity Rectory was a half circle of open backpacks, a mic and speakers for local bands, and a box of chalk.

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“We’re creating a space for healing, as well as memorialization, but also celebration of life. And building, hopefully, an art piece and more community in Boston around social justice and social change,” one organizer and artist Ameya Okamoto said.

Two people leaning on each other in front of Trinity Rectory. Gwen Egan/Boston.com

While people surrounded the backpacks, some offered flowers, some wrote in chalk on the ground, and some simply stood in silence.

Groups of people interact with the event put on by the Artist Initiative for Revolution. Gwen Egan/Boston.com

“We are here for humanity,” organizer Danny Rivera Jr. said. “If we can mobilize our humanity I believe we can see a change across the nation.”

Danny Rivera speaking to the crowd at the Copley Square memorial event May 26, 2022. Gwen Egan/Boston.com

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