By: Staff Writer.
Orlando - On January 19, at the House of Blues in Disney's Springs, Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, delivered a heartbreaking one-man show as part of his "Change The Ref" initiate against gun violence.
In this show, he honored the life of Joaquin (AKA GUAC) via a theatrical re-enactment of the 17 years he was able to share with him before he was brutally murdered by a gunman at Marjorie Stone Douglas High School on February 14, 2014. 16 other people were also murdered during what's considered one of the deadliest schools shooting in the nation in the past years.
Manuel Oliver and his family emigrated from Venezuela in 2002 looking for a better and safer life for their family. What they didn't know at that time was that their pursuit of a better life was going to put them in the front seat of the gun violence that is covering our nation.
According to Manuel, one of the most common questions people ask them is where do they find the strength to move forward as a family and he responds that the way he moves forward is by honoring the life of his son through art.
During one part of the show, Manuel walked the audience through the horrendous day he lost his son. While wearing a mask with Joaquin's face, he re-enacted the moment his son gets shot in his school's the hallway, leaving the audience in complete silence for what looked like an eternity... a silence that was only broken moments later by the sobbings of some members of the audience, which was mostly composed of Joaquin's family, friends, and other students from Stone Douglas who traveled all the way from Parkland to support the show.
It was towards the end of the show when that support was truly felt when Manuel invited every single one of Joaquin's friends to join him on stage to honor the life of who, according to some of his friends, was one of the funniest, caring, and loyal friends they ever had.
What the video here: https://www.facebook.com/thenortheastpolkgazette/videos/172395870759855/
The GUAC: My Son, My Hero is currently on tour and has shows already planned in the following cities: New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, and Louisville.
For more information about the "Change The Ref" initiative, visit their website at https://changetheref.org/