Actor and Uvalde, Texas native Matthew McConaughey paid a visit to the White House in support of gun reform, making an emotional plea during a press conference. In the wake of the shooting at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School in May, McConaughey has been a prominent voice in favor of reforming laws around gun ownership in the U.S.
“We got a chance for, right now, to reach for and grasp a higher ground, above our political affiliations,” McConaughey said during the conference. “A chance to make a choice that does more than protect your party. A chance to make a choice that protects our country now and for the next generation.”
“Can both sides see beyond the political problem at hand and admit that we have a life preservation problem on our hands?” he continued. “We’re got to take a sober, humble, and honest look in the mirror and rebrand ourselves based on what we truly value.”
During his speech, McConaughey became emotional as he shared the artwork and stories of the victims in Uvalde. “Maite [Rodriguez] wore green high top Converse with a heart she had hand drawn on the right toe, because they represented her love of nature,” he said of one former student.
“She wore these every day,” McConaughey said as his wife Camila Alves held up the child’s shoes. “Green Converse, with a heart on the right toe. These are the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her at the shooting. How about that.”
The Austin American-Statesman recently published an op-ed written by McConaughey, where he lays out his thoughts on bipartisan measures which could be taken to reduce gun violence.
“The need for mental health care, school safety, the prevalence of sensationalized media coverage, and the decaying state of American values are all long-term societal factors that must be addressed, but right now, we don’t have the luxury of time,” McConaughey wrote. “We need to focus on corrections and countermeasures that can also and immediately reduce the gun violence tragedies that have become too common in our country.”
You can watch McConaughey’s full statements below (The press conference begins at around 54 minutes):