City officials in the city of Miramar paid tribute to the 14 students and three educators who died in a gun attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
Now known globally as the “Parkland Shooting”, the incident is the deadliest high school shooting in United States history. The shooting sparked intensified calls for the inaction of legislation relating to gun control and gun violence. Broward Schools District, the county police department, and state leaders had also received nationwide criticism for the incident.
On the third anniversary of the shooting, scores of city leaders in Miramar come together to pay tribute to the victims, survivors and activists from Parkland.
“The young students with great futures ahead of them, whose lives were cut short, and the teachers who dedicated their lives to these students, will forever be in our hearts,” said Jamaican-born Miramar Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis.
“As a parent and former public school teacher, I’m acutely aware of the need to protect our students and staff by any means necessary and feel deeply for those who suffered and lost loved ones on this dreadful day.”
Jamaican-American Wayne Messam, the Mayor of Miramar, also sent his condolences to the loved ones of the victims and underscored that he remains committed to ensuring that a similar tragedy never occurs again in the state. City Manager Vernon Hargray, Commissioners Yvette Colbourne, Winston Barnes and Maxwell Chambers, also sent their condolences to the victims and their loved ones.
One of the couples who lost their child in the shooting, the Oliver family, also spoke about the tragedy and how they’ve been able to move on. Manuel and Patricia Oliver lost their 17-year-old son, Joaquin, in the incident.
“He was a very kind and friendly kid. He was also an activist for justice and spoke out against gun violence. He fought for everyone’s rights,” Manuel said. The pair, who are both artists, have used their art to honor their son and to push for legislation on gun control. Patricia said that through art, she and her husband are able to speak to and for their deceased son.
President Joe Biden, on Sunday, also paid tribute to the victims and lauded the efforts of Parkland survivors who have called for better gun laws.
“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call,” Biden said in a statement.
“Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
In the meantime, the shooter in the incident, 22-year-old Nikolas Cruz, awaits trial. The proceedings were delayed to the coronavirus pandemic. Cruz had later confessed to the crimes. The video of his confession was released in August 2018.