MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The pain of losing a loved one in a mass shooting is all too familiar for the families of those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The parents of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver were in El Paso when a man killed at least 20 people and injured dozens more near a shopping mall on Saturday.
Sunday would’ve been Oliver’s 19th birthday. He was also known as “Guac”.
“Happy birthday to you,” relatives sang in a video posted on YouTube.
In honor of his birthday his father, Manuel, who is also an artist is painting a mural in El Paso.
“The whole point was to celebrate Joaquin’s birthday,” he told CBS News on Sunday.
While preparing for the mural, he got word of the shooting.
“I got the news on my phone. Everybody tweeted because they knew I was in El Paso. and I said ‘oh ok. It happened again’,” he said.
Joaquin’s mother, Patricia, met Sunday with the immigration-advocacy group “Border Network for Human Rights”.
“My words and my deepest condolences to every single one of you,” she said.
This mother knows all too well about the struggle after a loss. She then told the crowd how healing is a slow process and more people than you know will be impacted.
“This is affecting the whole city. This is affecting, now, the whole state. You had another mass shooting last year in Santa Fe,” she said.
The Oliver family, which has turned grief into activism, is trying to raise $19,000 on Joaquin’s 19th birthday. It’s meant for programs to help prevent gun violence. They believe that could help families have more than a face and a memory of their loved one.
Click Here to donate.