Deutch Invites Manny Oliver as State of the Union Guest

Ted Deutch (FL-22) invited Manny Oliver to be his guest at the President's State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, February 5.

Manny Oliver started the organization Change The Ref in memory of his son Joaquin, who was lost in the 
tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

"It's been almost one full year since the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas, and the status quo has been shaken up," said Congressman Deutch. "The strength of the Parkland families had made a lasting impression on Washington and the entire country. I'm honored to have my friend Manny join me at the President's address. Manny and Patricia carry on the memory of their son and the 16 others lost on February 14 through their masterful artwork, passionate activism, and unyielding commitment to change. I hope the President will take note of how the American people voted to send a gun safety majority to Congress, and live up to his previous promises to stand up to the NRA and support meaningful policies to make our communities safer."

"I am enormously grateful that Congressman Deutch has invited me to attend the State of The Union," said Manny Oliver. "I look forward to listening for and hoping that the President will address the 40,000 gun deaths that steal the lives of so many Americans, including children like my son Joaquin. To date, we are disappointed by the President’s position on ending gun violence and changing the national control of the irresponsible gun culture."

The Stoneman Douglas community will be represented at the State of the Union by other guests as well. Fred Guttenberg, father of Jaime Guttenberg who was killed in the attack and founder of Orange Ribbons for Jaime, will attend as a guest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Cameron Kasky, a co-founder of the Never Again MSD group, will attend as a guest of Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15).

According to the website, "Change The Ref was formed to empower our Future Leaders. CTR gives the kids of today the tools they need to be empowered to make changes to critical issues that affect our nation, through education, conversation, and activism. It uses urban art and nonviolent creative confrontation to expose the disastrous effects of the mass shooting pandemic. It also brings focus to the NRA’s corrupt maneuvers to buy lawmakers, while forcing solutions which are essential to healing mass shooting victims’ families’ lifelong grief. Change The Ref’s ultimate goal is to give the young generation of survivors and victims a disrupting voice to help lead the way to change – a more peaceful future. #NeverAgain."

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