UVALDE, Texas — Over the last year, the Cazares family has embarked on a three-hour drive from Uvalde to Austin nearly every week.
This week marks one year since Jazmin Cazares lost her little sister, 9-year-old Jackie Cazares, in the shooting at Robb Elementary.
“Everybody grieves in their own way, and this is how I grieve and my parents grieve,” Jazmin said.
Jackie dreamed of traveling to Paris after her high school graduation. The bubbly 9-year-old loved animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian one day.
Her life was cut short when an 18-year-old gunman entered the school and took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
Jazmin, a high school senior, has spent the last year in a fight for gun reform. The teen decided to complete senior year online and put college plans on pause.
“I went to the first day of school, but I didn’t have a very good experience. In that moment, I was like, I'm not gonna do this,” Jazmin said.
Drowned out by the silence in the family’s home, Jazmin turned her family’s sorrow into a year of activism.
“What else do we have to lose?” Jazmin said.
For the past 12 months, family time has been spent holding rallies, taking road trips to the state Capitol and traveling to Washington, D.C.
“I remind myself that the fight that I'm fighting is for my sister, but it’s not just for my sister. It’s for the friends, the teachers, the survivors, mass shooting victims from years before,” Jazmin said.
In a tearful testimony last June, Jazmin urged Texas lawmakers to pass gun safety legislation.
“I shouldn’t be here. I should be home watching a movie with my little sister. It's summer,” she said. “I’m here begging for you guys to do something.”
HB 2744, a bill that would’ve raised the age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21, was the family’s focus.
The gun measure, however, failed to move forward.
“There’s only so much justice you can get because she’s not alive,” Jazmin said. “Justice would’ve been her walking out of that classroom.”
That painful reality won’t go away -- and neither will her family’s fight for change.