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Father of Parkland shooting victim paints mural in El Paso following deadly shooting

Posted at 1:05 PM, Aug 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-04 19:51:04-04

EL PASO, Texas — There's a work of art going up on a wall in El Paso, Texas. The man behind it is Manuel Oliver. He lost his son, Joaquin, in the Parkland school shooting.

Sunday would've been Joaquin's 19th birthday.

Oliver was already scheduled to be in El Paso, Texas, this weekend, putting a mural up at an immigrant advocacy center, when the mass shooting happened Saturday.

"Because it is his birthday, we always try to put together things that Joaquin would do," Oliver said. "And this is something that Joaquin will be very happy to do. Scream out his support for the immigrants."

He is continuing with the mural, but hasn't said what it will be yet, only saying it will show support for the city of El Paso. People will have to just wait until it is revealed.

"This is the reason why we are here," the artist said. "Now, yesterday, 29 people were shot down, just like Joaquin.

“It's very painful. And, um, I think ... somebody needs to do the dirty job."

Murals like the one he is painting in El Paso have been Oliver's post-Parkland calling.

“I'm not taking this as a new norm, " Oliver said. "I won't. I'm not accepting that my son was shot down and I should do nothing. I won’t have that as an option. Actually I’m gonna quote my beautiful son Joaquin now. F*** that."

The artist also has a message for El Paso and the rest of the country.

"You have to stay strong. This shouldn't be a surprise for this nation, unless we do something, unless we are louder with our message, things will stay the same," Oliver said. "Let's not take this as a tradition and let's fight for our loved ones that cannot use their own voices to let politicians here them. Be strong, and we're with you."