(WASHINGTON) — The parents of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver are bringing their new “children’s book” to Washington, D.C., to try to shine a light on gun control in a fresh and provocative way.
Patricia Oliver, whose 17-year-old son, Joaquin, was among the 17 students and staff killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, stressed that this new book, “Joaquin’s First School Shooting,” is not for kids — it’s for lawmakers.
“We felt this is a new way, a unique way, to make politicians understand,” she told ABC News. “What better example than our own son?”
The short book is written in the simple language a young child could read, with pages including: “He took aim and fired — again, and again, and again. One life at a time, my friends met their end. He came up the stairs, hunting for more. That’s when we all panicked, and ran for the door.”
The book also has “bullet hole” cutouts to mimic finger holes often seen in children’s books.
“This is presented like a children’s book because we believe that politicians need to understand in … any possible way the issue can be presented to them,” she explained. “This time, maybe they can understand better, because it’s like we’re talking to their own kids, but we’re talking to them. To see if they understand the pain — and the importance.”
Patricia Oliver and her husband, Manuel Oliver, have become outspoken advocates for gun control in the wake of their son’s murder. They’re currently pushing for an assault weapons ban.
This week, Patricia Oliver will head to D.C. to present — and possibly read — her new book to lawmakers to “see their reaction.”
“We, hopefully, will be touching their hearts” and inspiring them to take action, she said.
Patricia Oliver picked this week for the trip because it’s just days before Mother’s Day, and she thinks the book could especially help the members of Congress who are parents feel her pain.
“The language that we use [in the book] is the way Joaquin was feeling in his last moments,” she said.
“You open the book and see the illustrations, you will be very impacted,” she added. “And me as a mom [presenting it], I think that we’re gonna get a different reaction.”
Patricia Oliver added that she thinks the book can be used as a tool for lawmakers in any corner of the nation, and even any adult who wants to make a difference with gun reform.
“We need adults to be a part of the solution,” she said.
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