NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two days ago, Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, also known as “Guac,” would have celebrated his 23rd birthday, and although he’s not here, his parents are and they’re using the occasion to advocate for gun reform.
“There’s not a word that you can tell anyone because it’s so deep. It’s so without words saying that it’s something that never goes away,” Joaquin’s mother, Patricia Oliver, said.
She and her husband, Manuel, are now on a bus tour across the country, equipped with a stage on top for rallies and concerts. On Tuesday, their stop was Music City.
“This issue has been on the road for many, many years. So, if we go from Columbine, you can tell already there being more than 20 years, and we’re still stuck at the same place,” Patricia said.
Columbine was one stop where Patricia said families feel forgotten over two decades later.
Nashville is also a stop close to her heart as they’ve connected with families after the Waffle House mass shooting, and more recently, Covenant School families. One mom in particular stood out in her mind, whose child made it out okay.
“She cries and she feels that she was lucky. Every time one parent [has a kid who] is a survivor of any situation like this, they are in fear; they live in constant fear thinking about the fact that they could be losing a kid that day.”
Tuesday night, the Olivers’ tour bus parked outside the Merrit Mansion in Wedgewood-Houston against the backdrop of the “Up in Arms” art display.
Ahead of Tennessee’s special session, Patricia urges law makers to consider banning assault weapons, and leaves them with this message:
“Please listen. Open your heart. Be rational and do what you have to do. That’s why you have your position there,” Patricia said.
The Up in Arms art display will run until Aug. 12.