Last month, 17 were killed at Parkland, Florida's Stoneman Douglas High School in what was the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook. One victim, 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver, was buried in the jersey of his favorite basketball player: #3, Dwyane Wade.
The Sun-Sentinel reported that Wade met the Oliver family last week where he gave them one of his jerseys as well as specially-designed sneakers donning the Stoneman Douglas logo and Oliver's name.
Wade also wrote the teen's name on his own game day shoes.
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Over the weekend, Wade put together an art exhibit in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami called, "Parkland 17." The artist behind the powerful components inside was Evan Pestaina.
In honor of the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I’m dedicating a special exhibit called “Parkland 17” at Art Walk in Miami. Come out this weekend to honor the lives that were lost. #MSDStrong #MarchForOurLives pic.twitter.com/UoBEvNhMdD— DWade (@DwyaneWade) March 9, 2018
The exhibit came two weeks before the global March For Our Lives protest organized by Parkland survivors. It included murals, photos and chilling displays. One of these showed 17 desks — all of them empty — topped with name cards for each of the fallen victims.
Wynwood Artwalk - Parkland 17 pic.twitter.com/gVKhnxStzL— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) March 11, 2018
Also inside the Parkland 17 exhibit was a "Ring Your Rep" phone booth visitors could use to actually call their representatives in Congress about gun control.
"Last night I cried almost as hard as I had when this first happened," Parkland senior Emma Gonzalez, who has been a main face of the March For Our Lives and #NeverAgain movements, tweeted. "This art exhibit was so powerful, so emotional, so raw, words cannot describe what being there last night meant to me."
She continued, "Everything we do, when we scream, when we speak, when we march we do it for the people who would have done it for us if we had been in the freshman building. And every day we fight a Little Harder in their name."
(1/2) Last night I cried almost as hard as I had when this first happened. This art exhibit was so powerful, so emotional, so raw, words cannot describe what being there last night meant to me. Everything we do, when we scream, when we speak, when we march - pic.twitter.com/fukdpEqcpv— Emma González (@Emma4Change) March 11, 2018
The March For Our Lives Twitter account posted on Sunday night, "This weekend we had the opportunity to visit Dwyane Wade’s 'Parkland 17' exhibit in Wynwood Art Walk, which was a beautiful tribute to the victims of the MSD shooting. Such a moving night for all of us. Thank you, Dwyane."
This weekend we had the incredible opportunity to visit @DwyaneWade’s "Parkland 17" exhibit in Wynwood Art Walk, which was a beautiful tribute to the victims of the MSD shooting. Such a moving night for all of us. Thank you, Dwyane. pic.twitter.com/7ZsE9STvEs— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) March 12, 2018
Powerful moment with Oliver's father at Wade-organized exhibit
In a video that has since gone viral with over 1.5 million views, Joaquin Oliver’s father, Manuel Oliver, is seen painting one of the murals inside the exhibit. The heartbreaking footage shows him writing "We Demand A Change" on either side of his son’s portrait.
The man exerts his grief through the silence around him, and it’s a chilling tribute that speaks so loud.
Watch the video below posted by Oliver’s classmate and also shared by Wade:
Joaquin’s dad painting. pic.twitter.com/kgGcELFwAy— Lex Michael (@lexforchange) March 11, 2018
As Parkland students signed the finished mural, Oliver’s father penned a touching note: "Love you forever."
The finished project, with all our names signed on it, including his (which made me cry lol) pic.twitter.com/YvrSaIU5dn— Lex Michael (@lexforchange) March 11, 2018