South Floridians pay tribute to Parkland victims at various events

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Tributes for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims continued to take place across South Florida this weekend, nearly one month after the shooting claimed 17 lives.

On Sunday, a walk for Parkland was held in Aventura by students from Dr. Michael M. Krop High School to show their support and demand action.

“We wanted to have a movement where people actually get up and they do something,” said walk organizer Hilly Yehoshua.

“You go to school and you expect to be safe,” said walk organizer Elle Biton.

In Wynwood, artist Manuel Oliver, who lost his son Joaquin in the mass shooting, painted a mural as part of “Parkland 17.” The 17-hour exhibit, honoring the 17 victims of the shooting, went on display during the district’s monthly Art Walk.

“The word ‘change’ applies perfectly to what is going on right now,” said Oliver.

Another student, Alfonso Calderon, said he appreciates the help from those outside the Parkland community.

“Of course I love that the business community has come out in such a way to support us,” said Calderon.

Calderon also said his fellow peers and their support means the most to him.

“The thing that means the most to us by far are the students,” said Calderon. “When 16-year-olds and 17- and 18-year-olds are going out of their way to pick their lazy butts up and do something for once. It’s amazing. Especially for comprehensible gun laws.”

The event drew out Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade.

The basketball star has made a promise to stay involved with the school community while the students fight to prevent another shooting.

The previous day, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte visited with the Parkland school’s swim and water polo teams. He also met the parents of Nicholas Dworet, who was swim captain before he was killed in the Feb. 14 massacre.

Stoneman Douglas junior Jonathan Blank was recognized at the Emerald Society Honors. “It’s great to be honored here today,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s for something so horrific, but I’m honored to be here today.”

The outpouring of support comes on the heels of what many in this school community see as a legislative victory, after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun reform bill on Friday.

“I think that’s definitely a great start to the movement that’s beginning,” said Blank.

Saturday night, Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez, along with other students and leaders of the school’s gay-straight alliance, were honored at Equality Florida’s 2018 Miami Gala in Miami Beach.

Gonzalez, who is also an outspoken supporter of gun reform, was given the key to the City of Miami Beach.

“It means a lot to us – the people who are involved, and the people who are calling out for change,” said Gonzalez. “It means a lot to us to see change actually happen as a direct result of us calling for change.”

The tributes reached beyond Florida. In California, a group of Stoneman Douglas alumni put together a musical tribute.

The tributes and activism will continue throughout this week with a national student walkout scheduled for Wednesday.

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