We demand a change: Grieving father paints mural honoring son killed in Fla. school shooting

ByDanny Clemens WLS logo
Sunday, March 11, 2018
Grieving father's gut-wrenching mural for son killed in Fla. shooting
Heart-wrenching video shows a Florida father painting a mural in honor of his son, who was killed in the Stoneman Douglas shooting.

MIAMI -- Without saying a word, Manuel Oliver conveys unspeakable pain.

His son, Joaquin, was among 17 students and teachers killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In heart-wrenching video shot recently by Joaquin's classmate Lex Michael, Oliver paints a mural in honor of his late son.

Oliver doesn't utter a word throughout the sobering 45-second clip, conveying his grief instead through his brushstrokes and body language.

His painting features a stylized version of a widely circulated photo of Joaquin accompanied by the phrase "We demand a change." It was adorned with flowers and later signed by Joaquin's classmates.

Oliver, too, left a poignant note for his late son: "Love you forever."

The mural was part of an art installation organized by Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade. Dubbed "Parkland 17," the installation featured various photographs and art displays honoring those killed in Stoneman Douglas, Michael told ABC. It's open for 17 hours this weekend.

Joaquin, 17 when he died, went by the nickname "Guac" because many people had trouble pronouncing his first name.

"He's just a goofball. He's the only kid you'd know that would dye his hair bleach-blond, walk around school, put some tiger stripes in and just be unique. He was a unique soul," his friend Tyra Hemans told the Associated Press.

Joaquin's classmates will continue heeding his father's call for a change in two weeks when the largely student-organized March for Our Lives is set to take place in the nation's capital. Announced shortly after the Feb. 14 shooting, the event lists more than 650 affiliated marches in cities around the world on its website.