Father Of Parkland Victim Creates Powerful Mural Honoring Son And 16 Others Killed

Mary Papenfuss

In a silent, moving tribute, Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland school shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, painted a mural on Saturday honoring his son and the 16 other people killed in the Florida massacre last month.

The event was captured on a viral video as part of an art exhibit created by artist Evan Pestaina located in an art space in Miami. It was organized by Miami Heat NBA star Dwyane Wade. Oliver, 17, was a team fan who wore Wade’s basketball jersey when he was buried last month.

The mural in Joaquin’s honor, painted by his dad featured an image of the student with the words: “We demand a change.” Joaquin’s classmate, Lex Michael, recorded the video that shows the emotional father swiping angrily with a brush as he creates his message.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School signed the mural, and Oliver added the words: “Guac’s Dad: Love you forever.” Guac was Joaquin’s nickname.

In the wake of the Parkland shooting Oliver founded an organization called Change the Ref to empower youth to press for gun control and other issues. 

Young people are not the light at the end of the tunnel, they are “lighting the tunnel right now,” Oliver says in a videotaped message about the organization. “We need to support them. They will choose the right refs [referees] for a fair game so we can have a great nation again.”

The “Parkland 17” weekend installation also included a phone booth where visitors could “Ring Your Rep” to let their legislators know how they feel about gun control, reported CBS Miami.

The weekend art exhibit was also held to promote the upcoming March 24 “March For Life” to demand gun control. The main rally will be in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of affiliate marches will be held throughout the U.S. and abroad. 

By Sunday evening Lex’s video had been seen on social media nearly one million times in the U.S. and abroad, and people responded with emotional messages.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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