The procession, dubbed the ‘NRA Children’s Museum,’ was set up by artist Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin, 17, who died in the Parkland school shooting in 2018.
Oliver said said the name and destination of the mobile exhibit were chosen to highlight how pro-gun groups provide donations to high ranking officials, including Cruz, who has received $749,000 from such groups, BuzzFeed reported.
‘We’re going after the money,’ Oliver said. ‘These leaders are not loyal to the Second Amendment. They’re loyal to the gun industry and manufacturers, who protect them.’
‘It’s corrupt, and I wanted to find a graphic way of showing them what the impact really is.’
A fleet of 52 school buses, pictured, are heading to Sen. Ted Cruz’s home and office in Houston, Texas
The procession, dubbed the ‘NRA Children’s Museum,’ was set up by artist Manuel Oliver (center), whose son, Joaquin, was shot and killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida in 2018
The top of every truck also lists the city and date of the site of mass shootings that took place in America since 2020
Leading the procession is a bus carrying the belongings of students from previous shootings, including 2019 Santa Clarita High School shooting, 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
Among those whose belongings were included in the bust was Chase Kowalski, 7, who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. On display were his toys, drawings, mittens, sandals and a kindergarten graduation letter
Inside one of the buses were the belongings of Gracie Muehlberger, 15, (left) and Dominic Blackwell, 14, (right) both killed in the 2019 Santa Clarita High School shooting
Oliver (right) said the busses carry 4,368 empty seats to match the number of children killed from gun violence since 2020. The artist is pictured with his wife, Patricia, and late son Joaquin, who died when he was only 17
The heartbroken parents told reporters outside Cruz office that we all have a responsibility to protect children
Oliver said the name and destination of the mobile exhibit were chosen to highlight how pro-gun groups provide donations to high ranking officials, including Cruz, who has received $749,000 from such groups
JOAQUIN OLIVER’S LETTER CALLING FOR GUN REFORM FIVE YEARS BEFORE HE WAS SHOT AND KILLED IN PARKLAND
I am writing this letter to talk to you about how were going to solve this gun law movement.
Most of you have a problem with the idea of universal back round check. Why are you mad that there’s a back round check it’s for your own good maybe you are fond of having crazy people with death machines.
You shouldn’t have anything against back round checks if you’re innocent.
Joaquin, Coral Springs
The first bus in the procession headed to Cruz’s Houston home and office has been loaded with the belongings of the young victims from America’s past school shootings.
Included are a pair of checkered Vans from Gracie Muehlberger, 15, killed in the 2019 Santa Clarita High School shooting, a kindergarten graduation card and mittens from Chase Kowalski, 7, killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey from Joaquin.
Along with the procession, Oliver and his wife Patricia plan to deliver a letter their slain son wrote, asking for gun reform when he was only 12, to Cruz.
The letter asked American gun owners to support universal background checks on gun purchases.
The letter was penned five years before Oliver was killed inside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
‘He was a kid writing this letter,’ Oliver said. ‘We’ve been keeping it, our little letter to remind us about what we’re fighting for.
‘My son knew, at 12 years old, what to do better than Ted Cruz. I want [Cruz] to read that with his own eyes.’
Oliver also noted in a statement that he hopes the protest will help oust anti-gun reform lawmakers from office, and that his mobile exhibit will target others who have received donations from pro-gun groups.
‘This is only the beginning,’ he said. ‘We will not stop with Sen. Ted Cruz.
‘To every politician who has stood by, taken NRA money, and refused to listen to the people they represent: the museum is on the way to honor you next.’
Cruz was not in Houston on Thursday, but was instead attending the tribute ceremony for U.S. Marine Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hershel Woodrow Woody Williams in Washington D.C.
Cruz’s office said in a statement that the senator ‘is committed to enacting policies that would stop school shootings.
‘To that end, he introduced legislation to double the number of school resource officers, hire 15,000 school-based mental health professionals to ensure there is early intervention to identify and help at-risk kids, to provide significant resources for enhanced school safety, and to improve the gun background system and prosecute persons who try to illegally buy guns.’
The buses carried school desks featuring the items of the students who have lost their lives to gun violence
Pictured: Oliver and his wife reaching Cruz’s Houston office before noon on their way to his house with the fleet of buses
The buses were circling around Cruz’s office in the early afternoon before heading out to his home
‘Gun Violence in America’ is written on the side of the yellow school buses as they travel across Houston
The vehicles were also outfeated with wreaths and black and purple ribbons on the side
Pictured: The leading bus in a mile-long procession of school buses heading to Cruz’s office and house
Along with the procession, Oliver and his wife plan to deliver a letter their slain son wrote, asking for gun reform when he was only 12, to Cruz. The letter was penned five years before Joaquin was shot and killed in parkland
Oliver said the NRA Children’s Museum will be making stops at the homes of other politicians who received donations form the NRA and other pro-gun groups
Pictured: Patricia Oliver inside one of the school buses as she and her husband prepare to set out to Cruz’s home and office
The event comes as calls for gun reform gain traction throughout the nation in the wake of deadly Uvalde shooting in May, which left 19 elementary school children and two teachers dead.
Cruz has been previously criticized over his inaction to support gun reform laws, with one activist hounding him at a Houston sushi restaurant following the senators speech at the National Rifle Association conference in late May.
‘You can make it harder for people to get guns in this country,’ Benjamin Hernandez tells Cruz in video captured of the moment. ‘You know that.’
You know that. But you stand here, you stand at the NRA convention ― it is harder, it is harder when there are more guns to stop gun violence.’
Cruz had told Hernandez that background checks wouldn’t have stopped 18-year-old Salvador Ramos from purchasing the weapons he used to kill 21 people, with the lawmaker claiming that the absence of ‘community and faith and love’ was the fundamental reason shootings were happening in the U.S.
Along with the tragedy in Uvalde, there have been more than 300 mass shootings in America in 2022, on track to match the 692 shootings recorded last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which records shooting incidents in the U.S.
The bus demonstration comes three days after Oliver yelled at President Joe Biden during his speech advocating for red flag laws and celebrating the passage of a bipartisan gun law on Monday.
The gun safety legislation, which was passed after recent gun rampages in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, incrementally toughens requirements for young people buying guns, denies firearms to more domestic abusers and helps local authorities temporarily take weapons from people judged to be dangerous.
As Biden on Monday delivered his remarks, saying that ‘we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence’, Oliver interrupted him, saying: ‘We have to do more than that! I’ve been trying to tell you this for years.’
Manuel Oliver was escorted out of President Joe Biden’s event to celebrate the new bipartisan gun law on Monday
The grieving father called on the president to do more to curb gun violence in the U.S., which has seen more than 300 mass shootings in America in 2022, on track to match the 692 shootings recorded last year
In February 2022, Manuel Oliver climbed a crane outside the White House to call for gun legislation to be passed
The artist said his protest are done in the name is his slain son, pictured, a victim of mass shootings in American schools
Biden then told him: ‘Sit down – you’ll hear what I have to say. Let me finish my comments.’
But as White House staff stepped in to talk to Oliver, Biden then said ‘Let him talk; let him talk.’ However, staff still escorted Oliver out of the event.
Afterward, Oliver said there was nothing to celebrate.
‘There’s nothing to celebrate,’ he told the Miami Herald. ‘It’s a big lie. We lie between ourselves thinking we have a solution to this when we actually don’t. There was no need for this event. At all.’
Oliver said he stood up at the event because it was his chance to talk to Biden. Oliver has staged several protests pushing for stronger gun legislation, and in February he climbed a 150-foot construction tower next to the White House.
‘It was my chance to say something to the president, and that’s a chance we don’t have every single day,’ Oliver said. ‘That’s pretty much what this is about.’
The White House said the president met with Oliver before the event and agrees with him that more work needs to be done.
‘The president met with him earlier today before the event,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday at her daily briefing. ‘He agrees that we need to do more.’
The president was also criticized for getting the date of the massacre that took the live of Oliver’s son wrong, accidentally saying that it took place in 1918.
Infamously, the shooting occurred on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018.