Months after the Florida school shooting, which claimed 17 lives, the families of the victims are still reeling from the loss — a void that can never be filled.
The shooting jolted the United States but its aftermath brought about a new generation of activists, with many students and their families making sure they create enough awareness so that no one goes through what they did.
From rallies to calls for better gun laws, the Parkland community has since strived for safer schools for children — a safer community as a whole.
One such individual is Manuel Oliver, who lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin during the shooting.
An artist by profession, Oliver has used his craft to create awareness about gun control and try and sway votes in favor of politicians who back stricter gun laws.
As part of a project, “The Last Lockdown,” Oliver has created a remarkable life-size sculpture, which shows a child hiding under a school desk during a lockdown.
This statue, and nine others, are being shown all over the country during voter registration drives, especially in districts that has politicians backing the gun lobby.
The sculptures are created using 3D printers, an intentional nod to the debate over guns downloaded using the same printers. The desks are real school desks.
“We want you to feel unsettled,” the project’s co-creator Sean Leonard said.
The project came about as a collaboration between Oliver and Leonard with Giffords, which is a gun reform group founded by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who herself is a mass shooting victim. She was left partially paralyzed in 2011 after lone gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet in Tucson, Arizona.
As midterm elections loom near, the statues will be displayed in cities including Parkland, Florida, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Denver and Milwaukee.
“It’s too late for us to save Joaquin from gun violence,” Oliver said. “But through art my family and I are making sure that we protect the rest of the kids out there.”
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