By: Jaime Vining
In 2018, Coral Springs residents Manuel and Patricia Oliver established Change the Ref in memory of their son Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, one of the 17 victims from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.
The nonprofit focuses on empowering future leaders and giving the young generation of survivors a disrupting voice to help lead the way to change and a more peaceful future.
According to Sandy Hook Promise, April 2020 was the first month without a school shooting in the U.S. in two decades. However, during the COVID-19 health crisis, the Olivers observed a different scary curve – the surge in gun sales.
This inspired Change the Ref to launch the “Antiviral Weapon” campaign to stop the spread of germs and gun violence.
Each gun-shaped soap comes with the message, “The more this disappears, the safer our lives will be.”
The Olivers hope that the campaign reminds the public that the only essential weapon needed during this pandemic is soap.
As the public washes hands and the soap vanishes, so will gun violence.
For more information about the “Antiviral weapon” campaign or to donate to Change the Ref, please visit the nonprofit’s website.
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Jaime Vining is a Florida native, but recent Parkland transplant. By day, she is a Florida Bar-certified Intellectual Property attorney, adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law and an avid blogger. Prior to earning her law degree, Jaime was a featured journalist for publications like the Orlando Sentinel and aXis Magazine. In 2009, she released a compilation of interviews with musicians under the title Off the Bus and On the Record.
Jaime is also a mom to two little boys and you will regularly find her running early mornings at Pine Trails Park trying to keep up with them.
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