Matthew McConaughey launches Uvalde Relief Fund after visiting his hometown

Matthew McConaughey and his wife have launched a fundraiser to support the families and friends of the 19 children and two teachers who were shot and killed at an elementary school last week.

McConaughey, 52, was born and raised in Uvalde, Texas and his mother, Kay, was a teacher at St. Philip’s Episcopal School just a mile away from Robb Elementary School, where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire last Tuesday.

Following the shooting, the Academy Award-winning actor issued a statement calling for gun control, and on Friday, he and his wife, Camila, made their way south from their home in Austin to the small town to help comfort the community as they start burying the young children.

By Thursday, the celebrity couple announced the launch of their Just Keep Livin’ Foundation’s Uvalde Relief Fund.

‘Matthew and Camila McConaughey have been on the ground in Uvalde for the last few days since the mass shooting, the loss is tragic,’ read a statement on the foundation’s Instagram page.

‘While the spirit of the community is in pain, the unique support of families to families and strangers to locals is,’ they wrote: ‘After the town has now begun the funerals grieving process will continue for the surviving children, families and the entire community.

‘The community will need ongoing grief counseling and support on the long road ahead of them,’ they continued, asking for donations to support the grief counseling and help families with burial costs as well as ‘other immediate and other long-term needs of the community.’

Dazed and Confused actor Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila, have launched a fundraiser to support the families and friends of the 19 children and two teachers who were shot and killed in Uvalde, Texas last week

In a statement posted to Instagram on Thursday, the McConaugheys announced the launch of the Just Keep Living Foundation's Uvalde Relief Fund to help with grief counseling, costs associated with burial services and 'other immediate and long-term needs of the community'

In a statement posted to Instagram on Thursday, the McConaugheys announced the launch of the Just Keep Living Foundation’s Uvalde Relief Fund to help with grief counseling, costs associated with burial services and ‘other immediate and long-term needs of the community’

McConaughey, center, visited Uvalde - his hometown - on Friday, just four days after the mass shooting.  He is pictured here with Uvalde school officials

McConaughey, center, visited Uvalde – his hometown – on Friday, just four days after the mass shooting. He is pictured here with Uvalde school officials

McConaughey has previously called for gun control in the immediate aftermath of the devastating shooting – after he was besieged by tweets asking him to speak out.

In a statement last Tuesday, the actor wrote: ‘As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas.

‘Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.’

‘The true call to action now is for every American to take a longer and deeper look in the mirror, and ask ourselves ”What is that we truly value? How do we repair the problem?

‘What small sacrifices can we take individually today, to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow?”

‘We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.’

He then called on all Americans to ‘renegotiate our wants from our needs,’ adding that ‘we have to rearrange our values ​​and find a common ground above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children’s issue.’

‘This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better.

McConaughey has previously called for gun control following the mass shooting last week

McConaughey has previously called for gun control following the mass shooting last week

The Uvalde, Texas community is still reeling from the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School - where 19 children and two teachers died.  A mourner seen here paying his respects to the victims on Wednesday

The Uvalde, Texas community is still reeling from the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School – where 19 children and two teachers died. A mourner seen here paying his respects to the victims on Wednesday

The community came together on May 27 to light candles and lay flowers for the victims

The community came together on May 27 to light candles and lay flowers for the victims

In his statement Thursday, McConaughey noted that the community has received 'unanimous support of families to families and strangers to locals.'  Residents and family members are seen here linking hands around a makeshift memorial to pray for those who lost their lives

In his statement Thursday, McConaughey noted that the community has received ‘unanimous support of families to families and strangers to locals.’ Residents and family members are seen here linking hands around a makeshift memorial to pray for those who lost their lives

The front of Robb Elementary School was littered with crosses and flowers for the victims

The front of Robb Elementary School was littered with crosses and flowers for the victims

‘Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have hardened.

‘To those who dropped their loved ones off to school not knowing that today was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them coming.’

He further said ‘it’s time we re-evaluate, and negotiate our wants form our needs’ and that a common ground needs to be found ‘above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children’s issue.’

McConaughey concluded his statement by calling mass shootings ‘an epidemic we can control’ and ‘to those who dropped off their loved ones today not knowing it was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them coming.’

He did not, however, provide any practical solutions to end the attacks – and has previously towed the line defending the Second Amendment while also decrying gun violence.

In a 2018 March for Our Lives event in Texas, McConaughey gave an impassioned speech about his support for some gun control.

But just one month later, he shared his fears one month later that the youth-led movement will be ‘hijacked’ by those hoping to eliminate all guns in the United States.

‘I’ve got a lot of friends who are gun owners. I’ve got a lot of friends who are NRA. I grew up hunting. We had responsible gun ownership, but I was taught the right way to respect that tool,’ McConaughey said at the time.

McConaughey has since described himself as ‘aggressively centrist,’ and even mulled a run for governor last year before announcing he would not be on the ballot against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott.

Still, McConaughey said he was honored to be considered for the highest position in Texas state politics.

‘It’s a humbling and inspiring path to ponder,’ he said in a video posted to his Twitter in November. ‘It is also a path that I’m choosing not to take at this moment.’

He said he would instead continue to support ‘entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that I believe are leaders’ and ‘creating pathways for people to succeed in life.’

McConaughey, though, has not yet ruled out a run for governor in the future.

To donate to the Uvalde Relief Fund, visit www.jklivinfoundation.org/uvalde.

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