Parkland parents turn to activism

Today, Michael J. Satz, the lead prosecutor in the sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the admitted Parkland murderer of the 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said, “I’m going to tell you about the untold “. Day after day we read of other unspeakable acts of violence, including the latest shooting on July 18e. Over the years, various survivors and relatives of unspeakable acts have drawn attention to the ongoing holocaust of deaths caused by our excessive gun ownership.

One of the most outspoken voices is Manuel Oliver. He and his wife, Patricia, lost their son, Joaquin, when he was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by Cruz in 2018. Manuel and Patricia Oliver founded a nonprofit advocacy group called “Change the Ref” , designed to help young people. speak out against violence and work as activists.

Recently, Oliver managed to interrupt Biden as he delivered a speech on the gun legislation that had just been passed. Oliver shouted “You need to do more”. He was heard shouting in the audience during Biden’s remarks celebrating the passage of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which provides funding for crisis response and mandates due process for states with red flag laws. “Oliver wants an office in the White House dedicated to preventing gun violence and appointing a gun czar. Biden allowed him to speak but Oliver was escorted away. Biden said, “This legislation is real progress but there is still a lot to do. The provision of this new legislation will save lives and it is proof that today’s politics allow us to unite on a bipartisan basis and achieve important things, even on such a difficult issue as weapons fire. Many gun control activists believe that this current legislation has not gone very far to prevent mass shootings.

This week, Oliver and his nonprofit organization sent a message to the world and in particular to Senator Cruz who has been reluctant to support any anti-gun legislation leaning towards safe schools over background checks.

Change the Ref organized a fleet of 52 yellow school buses dubbed the ‘NRA Children’s Museum that formed a mile-long procession to Senator Ted Cruz’s home in Houston on Thursday morning – 4,368 empty seats to honor the number of children killed by armed violence since 2020.

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“It’s partly with the intention that some people will think this is really an NRA museum,” Oliver told BuzzFeed News.

The first bus was carrying items from school shooting victims, including a pair of worn-out checkered vans of 15-year-old Gracie Muehlberger, who was killed at her Santa Clarita high school in 2019; a kindergarten graduation card with a smiling teddy bear, awarded to Sandy Hook victim Chase Kowalski; and a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey adored by Joaquin Oliver, who died in the 2018 Parkland school shooting. The top of each bus also features the city and date of the site of mass shootings that have taken place in America since 2020. .

Oliver challenges the status quo and spoke about how we talk about these atrocities.

“I’ve been saying for a while that using the words ‘celebration’, coming together is like we’re going to a party, a wedding today, you know, we’ve all gotten invitations. And meanwhile, you can see these mothers in Uvalde who just saw how their children were slaughtered inside a school,” Oliver said in an interview with CNN.

We each need to use our skills and commitment to gun violence prevention to lobby Congress, especially given the SCOTUS rulings allowing for looser gun laws.

Olivers’ work has made a difference. Manuel Oliver uses his artist training and guerrilla publicity instincts to focus on his son, Joaquin, the sixteen other lives lost in the Parkland school shooting, and the more than forty thousand victims of gun violence in the United States every year. Manuel’s biggest project was a year-long art installation for which he and his team created twenty-two murals, sculptures, 3D-printed likenesses and paintings of Joaquin around the country: each features seventeen holes pierced through the portraits to represent each life. lost in the Parkland school shooting. Oliver would tell us to do something and vote for politicians who understand the horror that continues to happen in the United States.

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