The parents of a Parkland, Florida shooting victim appeared in Springfield Friday.
17-year-old Joaquin Oliver was one of those killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.
On Friday, his mother and father traveled to a Springfield church on a mission.
The gun used in the Parkland shooting was manufactured by Smith & Wesson, its headquarters are in Springfield.
That’s why the Olivers were in the city to commemorate their 17-year-old son Joaquin, who was shot and killed by that gun.
Manuel Oliver, a south Florida artist, arrived in Springfield to paint a mural in memory of his son, Joaquin.
“I’m just doing the same thing that I used to do before with the worst mission that I’ve ever had as an artist, in order to accomplish statements and messages,” said Manuel Oliver.
The Olivers plan to travel to many U.S. cities to install murals in order to raise awareness about gun violence in America.
“We are more powerful impacting people than convincing people. We are supporting the kids, number one. We are demanding changes, number two," Oliver noted.
Coincidentally, the painting of the mural took place on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
Joaquin’s mother, Patricia, shared with Western Mass News a message to all students who have participated in marches or protests against gun violence.
“You can see they are kids taking advantage of this day. They are the ones organizing all these walkouts, and that’s why we’re here because we want to be part of it, and that’s what we want in the name of Joaquin and all the other victims," said Patricia Oliver.
The Olivers gathered with local March For Our Lives members and the public at the South Congregational Church until 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Olivers wanted to place the mural in front of the Smith & Wesson headquarters but did not obtain all of the correct permits to do so. The mural has since been placed in front of the South Congregational Church.
Western Mass News reached out to Smith & Wesson for comment and have not heard back.
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