Rather than privately mourn their son, Parkland victims Manuel and Patricia Oliver spent the second anniversary of their son’s murder in Boston today. They partnered with Stop Handgun Violence to announce a new corporate symbol that will enable businesses to show support for universal background checks and other common sense gun safety policies. The symbol will inform consumers and allow them to decide whether to support those companies and their products or services.
The Olivers were joined by David Hogg, a Parkland survivor and co-founder of March for Our Lives, John Rosenthal, Co-Founder of Stop Handgun Violence, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
The symbol was designed by the Olivers and is a joint project of Change the Ref, founded by the Olivers, and Stop Handgun Violence. The symbol includes the face of Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 students and staff members killed in the Parkland mass shooting on Valentine’s Day of 2018. Since the shooting, the Olivers have been working to end gun violence through advocacy and ARTivism. The launch took place in front of Stop Handgun Violence’s 90’ x 20’ billboard near Boston’s Prudential Center depicting a larger than life photograph of 17-year-old Joaquin with the message: “If I had attended high school in Massachusetts instead of Parkland, Florida, I would likely be alive today.”
After the Parkland shooting and in the absence of Congress prioritizing gun safety over gun lobby special interest campaign contributions, business people, including over 200 national corporations, have begun to demand action, including passage of national gun safety laws.
“I designed this mark to be a powerful symbol for businesses to show their support for gun violence prevention,” said Manuel Oliver. “My son cared deeply about the need for gun safety laws before he was murdered with a military style AR 15 assault weapon in Florida, one of the 32 states that doesn’t even require background checks for all gun sales. Joaquin has become an eternal activist for gun safety and I used my son’s face on the Gun Safety-Certified symbol to serve as a reminder of the real consequences of preventable gun violence. I cannot go back in time and take action to prevent my child’s death, but businesses and consumers can take action now by using the mark and supporting responsible companies who show support for gun violence prevention.”
“This new Gun Safety-Certified symbol is an opportunity for consumers and businesses to show their support for effective national gun safety initiatives like mandatory background checks that have proven to work in many states across the country without banning most guns,” said John Rosenthal, a real estate businessperson, gun owner and founder of Massachusetts-based Stop Handgun Violence.
Massachusetts has reduced the rate of gun deaths by 40 percent since 1994 and now has the nation’s second lowest gun-related death rate. Proving that gun laws save lives without banning most guns, Massachusetts has become a national model for gun violence prevention.
Business people and consumers can join the Gun Safety-Certified campaign and see what companies are already engaged in leading on gun safety nationally at www.gunsafetycertified.org and Businesses Must Act – www.businessmustact.org.