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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This Thursday will mark one year since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Fourteen students and three adults were killed. Another 17 students were injured.
Unlike previous mass shootings in the United States, the shooting in Parkland has not faded with time.
The anger and the demands for change continue, and the reason for that is the drive and commitment of the survivors, the students and parents who have not let up.
One of those parents is Manuel Oliver. His son Joaquin was one of the fourteen students murdered last February.
Last week during a hearing on Gun Violence in the U.S. House of Representatives, Oliver could not stay quiet as Rep Matt Gaetz used his time to speak to talk about immigration and building a wall.
He spoke to Facing South Florida host Jim DeFede about the incident.
DeFede asked him what exactly he was trying to say to Gaetz during the hearing.
“The shooter of Joaquin was an American, white dude, born in America, an American citizen that had access to an assault weapon, legal access to an assault weapon,” Oliver said. “And then he decided to go to a school and shoot people randomly. That should be the main thing we are talking about.”
“This problem is beyond Parkland, we have to understand that,” he continued. “I met people from Chicago. I met fathers and mothers who lost their loved ones in L.A. and in New York. This is sadly but true a common issue that we are dealing with. And this guy is pretending to sell his project in a totally out of context conversation.”
This week in New York City Oliver will unveil the seventeenth in a series of art projects that he has set up across the country.
The number of installations match the number of victims in the shooting, and the seventeenth will debut on the shooting’s one year anniversary.
Being an artist is something that Oliver feels to his core, and now it’s a way for him to keep his son’s memory and spirit alive.
“I am an artist and I decided along with my wife that we were going to make Joaquin an activist instead of a victim,” Oliver said. “That makes us still be parents. I feel proud that I have a son that, besides being a victim, he’s a leader of this movement.”
“We use art to send the right message. We think that we have a culture problem and I believe that we can fix it by just changing the message.”
Over the course of the past year, Oliver has traveled the country with many of the shooting survivors, trying to deliver that message.
“They are very amazing. We’ve been all around,” he said. “That’s the only group that I really trust and have hope that things will be different. I have been with politicians, I have been with people from different industries. These [Parkland students], they know what they want and they’re gonna make it happen.”