Parkland gun control activist dad continues protest outside White House for more than a week

Manny Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver who died during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, continued his gun control protest for eight days outside of the White House.

WASHINGTON – Manuel Oliver traveled from South Florida to Washington, D.C., about eight days ago and he has been standing in front of the White House to demand action on gun violence.

He wants Biden to declare a national gun violence emergency, unveil a concrete plan of action for advancing life-saving legislation, nominate a new person to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and establish a White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

“President Biden can make several calls. I want to hold him accountable,” Oliver said.

Dozens of students, parents and activists joined the protest on Thursday. Igor Volsky, the director of Guns Down America, a movement calling for fewer guns in the United States, supports Oliver’s protest.

“I don’t understand why this White House still doesn’t have an Office of Gun Violence Prevention, why there isn’t a single person in this White House whose sole job it is to drive this issue and address this crisis,” Volsky said.

Manuel and Patricia Oliver continued to protest outside of the White House. They are the parents of Joaquin, one of the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Oliver’s wife, Patricia Oliver, was also there on Thursday. Their son Joaquin “Guac” Oliver was among the 17 victims of the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“We are representing every single family that has been going through this pain,” Patricia Oliver said.

The 17-year-old senior was on the third floor of the 1200 building for his fourth period. He had a creative writing class with Stacey Lippel, a language arts teacher who asked him to write a love letter that day. The fire alarm interrupted the class and she evacuated the classroom.

Lippel heard students screaming and running back up the stairs. She decided to run back to the classroom and open the door, but she would never see Oliver again. Weeks later, Lippel testified at Capitol Hill and said the hallway turned into a war zone.

“Shots were firing and students were pouring into my class: Kids who were mine, kids who I had never seen before,” Lippel said. “I held my door open and pulled kids in as I watched the scene unfold before my eyes. I saw the shooter emerge from the stairwell.”

It was a 19-year-old former student armed with an Armalite Rifle, Model 15. According to the state’s public safety committee investigation, Joaquin tried to hide in the restrooms but the doors were locked. His grieving Venezuelan-American parents have been pleading for gun control since.

Manuel and Patricia Oliver turned to activism to honor the memory of their late son Joaquin Oliver who died during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. (Courtesy of UnfinishedVotes.com)

School shooting after school shooting they have asked lawmakers to prevent other tragedies for years. On Tuesday, a 15-year-old troubled student walked into a high school in Michigan with a 9mm Sig Sauer SP2022 pistol to kill four students and wound a teacher and 6 students.

“I’m sick of seeing this happening. I know the pain that those families are feeling today,” Manuel Oliver said, as the White House prepared for a Thursday evening tree lighting ceremony. “I don’t have a formal invitation, there is no time for that.”

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has issued executive orders to limit stabilizing braces that can turn a pistol into a rifle and to crackdown on ghost guns. Manuel Oliver wants President Joe Biden to do more.

Joaquin Oliver died during the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“He promised me he would be working really hard on putting some rules and restrictions on the gun manufactures and the gun industry as a whole and I am still waiting.”

Manuel Oliver’s son would have been 21 years old this year.

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About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News. He has more than a decade of reporting experience nationwide.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.