Boston artists honor Texas shooting victims at event in Copley Square


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

Members of the public bring flowers to put in backpacks representing every life lost in the Texas elementary school shooting. Gwen Egan/

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

The Artist Initiative for Revolution, also known as Air Boston, took to social media to host an event to honor 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 backpacks drawn alongside the words “Who can grow up in America?”

The event took place in Copley Square on Thursday and began around 5 p.m., with people quickly gathering in the area. In front of the historic Trinity Rectory were a semicircle of open backpacks, a microphone and speakers for local bands, and a box of chalk.

“We create a space for healing, for commemoration, but also for the celebration of life. And hopefully build a work of art and more community in Boston around social justice and social change,” said organizer and artist Ameya Okamoto.

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

As people circled the backpacks, some offered flowers, some chalked on the floor, and some just remained silent.

Groups of people interact with the event organized by Artist Initiative for Revolution. Gwen Egan/

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

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

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