Over the weekend, Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland school shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, paid tribute to his son and the 16 other Parkland victims by painting a mural as part of a Miami art exhibit. The mural was intended to show how much Manuel remains committed to fighting for gun control after losing his son and features an image of Joaquin, whose nickname was “Guac,” alongside the phrase: “We Demand A Change.”
The mural was one of many included in the “Parkland 17” installation. In addition to providing Manuel and others an outlet to express themselves in the wake of such an unthinkable tragedy, the exhibit was designed to promote the upcoming “March For Our Lives.” The nation-wide march, scheduled to take place in Washington, DC, on March 24, hopes to press national lawmakers into taking serious action on gun control. In fact, according to CBS Miami, the art exhibit included a phone booth from which people could “Ring Your Rep” to voice their support for gun control.
Joaquin’s dad painting. pic.twitter.com/kgGcELFwAy
— Lex Michael (@lexforchange) March 11, 2018
The event was created by artist Evan Pestain and organized by future NBA Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade. Joaquin was a massive fan of Wade, so much so, that he was buried last month in Wade’s basketball jersey. Several Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students were at the event to show their support for Manuel, and the grieving father had them sign the mural. Lex Michael, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, filmed Manuel finishing up the painting and posted the video on her Twitter. In just two days, the video has been viewed 1.57 million times and received more than 25,000 retweets.