Shortly after the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, on May 24, Mary Lyn Maiscott, an NYC singer-songwriter who has written about music for the Voice, came across a drawing by Alithia Ramirez, a 10-year-old victim. The colorful, vibrant piece—along with news accounts of survivors’ experiences that day—inspired the musician to write a song, “Alithia’s Flowers (Children of Uvalde).” After recording it, she sought out the girl’s parents, Jess Hernandez and Ryan Ramirez, so they could hear the song before it was released. According to Maiscott, this led to an often moving, sometimes wrenching correspondence.
“We were best friends,” Hernandez said about herself and Alithia, whose TikTok page, with videos of her artwork and dance moves, the couple discovered only after her death. During their first Messenger exchange, Hernandez told Maiscott that seeing Alithia’s handle, “evilartist,” made her laugh, and that the discovery felt like a gift. “I was glad there was no audio or video because at one point I started to cry,” says Maiscott. “It felt like an honor to be in touch with Jess, but to think of her pain was almost overwhelming.”
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