This Father Painted a Gut-Wrenching Mural For the Son He Lost in the Parkland Shooting
Manuel Oliver, a grieving father who lost his son, Joaquin, in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, honored his child by creating a mural that makes an extremely powerful statement. He paid tribute to Joaquin by painting the words "We Demand Change" next to a black-and-white picture of the 17-year-old high school student, and, yes, it'll move any parent to tears.
The mural is part of the "Parkland 17" exhibit, an event in Miami started by Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade that seeks to make gun laws stricter in the US. A video of Manuel's work was posted to Twitter by Lex Michael, a Parkland survivor, and has gone viral, amassing nearly 88,000 favorites and 34,000 comments so far.
Lex told CNN Manuel was stoic, to say the least, while creating the mural. "He didn't say anything, he was just breathing heavily while painting. He was very focused. It's not shown in the video, but Oliver also took a hammer and created holes in the wall and put flowers in them."
And what's even more moving is that once Oliver was done with the initial painting, he asked for other Parkland students to sign the tribute as a sign of solidarity and to keep the conversation about stricter gun laws going.
The "Parkland 17" exhibit, which will be open longer than first expected, has a memorial that uses empty desks to represent the students who were lost, as well as phone booths where people can call their local representative to demand stricter gun-control laws.