A protest paying off for a Parkland parent.
The father whose son died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, was determined not to leave the nation’s Capitol until he had a “serious session” with White House officials.
“This is not about the things we have been able to do. It’s about the things we haven’t been able to do, the things we need to do right now,” said Manuel Oliver.
After a weeks-long crusade, Oliver met with White House senior officials Thursday in a demand for gun reform.
“It’s true that President Biden has done more than probably any other president in trying to defeat gun violence. However people still died, and that was my point yesterday, inside that office,” said Oliver
It’s a cause close to his heart, his son Joaquin Oliver was one of 17 people who lost their lives in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas nearly four years ago.
“It’s not a sacrifice if you consider my son was shot four times, and he was still alive when he was shot again twice. That’s sacrifice, that’s pain.” said Oliver.
Oliver traveled from South Florida and spent more than two weeks protesting outside the White House, calling for action from President Biden.
“I’m right now in the Fort Lauderdale International Airport on my way to D.C.,” said Oliver in a video.
Fred Guttenburg who lost his daughter Jaime Guttenburg in the Parkland tragedy, joined Oliver for the meeting in D.C., tweeting in part, “We had a very engaged conversation about the status of gun violence efforts and how much more needs to be done. My friend Manny is going home.”
Though Biden was absent from that meeting, Oliver said he did not shy away from getting their message across to members of his administration.
“We asked yesterday, we asked yesterday that we needed President Biden to declare war on gun violence during his speech at the state of the union. However, if he doesn’t, we will,” said Oliver.
It’s a significant step in their calls for change, but Oliver said the fight is far from over.
“This is not about owning a gun or not. You are not the center of the universe Mr. gun owner. This is about people dying,” said Oliver.
Oliver is expected to return to South Florida by Tuesday.
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