If you were on Twitter yesterday it was hard to miss the trending aerial photos of yellow school buses in the shape of an assault weapon said to be heading over to Senator Ted Cruz’s house. So, what is it? It’s the mobile NRA Children’s Museum and they have a message for the Texas Senator.
Mobile NRA Children’s Museum
The photo of yellow school buses in a parking lot is just the first part of a moving (literally and figuratively) art installation promoting commonsense gun law reform in Texas. Shaped like an assault weapon when seen from on high, the buses’ empty seats represent the 4,368 children who should be sitting in them but instead have fallen victim to gun violence in America since 2020.
The 52 buses are part of the NRA Children’s Museum, a memorial, mobile campaign and mile-long convoy imploring Senator Ted Cruz to immediately renounce future political funding from the NRA and enact legislation for universal background checks.
The NRA Children’s Museum was created by Manuel Oliver of Change The Ref, a gun control and anti-gun violence advocacy organization. Artist and activist Oliver is the father of a victim of the 2018 Parkland School shooting, Joaquin.
Some of the buses will display artifacts, photos, videos, audio recordings, and personal memories of these children who have lost their lives to guns, such as those shown below.
The mile-long convoy’s first stop really is to Senator Ted Cruz, as it should be. He’s the leading recipient of gun lobbyist funding in the State of Texas ($749,000 total).
Because of politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz and the NRA, who enable assault rifles to be the best-selling gun on America’s streets, the child death toll this year has hit an all-time high. According to the CDC, since 2020, firearms have overtaken car accidents to become the leading cause of death in children (4,368). Despite this tragic theme, Senators and House members representing Texas have received more than $14 million in contributions from gun rights interests over their careers.
“To commemorate this horrific historic moment, we are showing American voters the toll these politicians have taken on our children’s lives with this all-too-real archive,” said Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was one of the 17 victims in the 2018 Parkland, Florida massacre. Manuel co-founded Change the Ref with his wife Patricia in Joaquin’s memory. “And this is only the beginning. We will not stop with Sen. Ted Cruz. To every politician who has stood by, taken NRA money, and refused to listen to the people they represent: the museum is on the way to honor you next.”
“We want to display, for the voters who keep these politicians in office, the consequences of those choices. We want voters to remember which politicians are in the pocket of the NRA when they visit the polls in November,” added Patricia Oliver. “We urge everyone to join us in our mission to fight for every innocent soul lost to gun violence and to demand universal background checks on gun sales.”
As a part of the mobile museum, Manuel and Patricia Oliver will present Sen. Cruz with a “gift”: a letter from their son, Joaquin Oliver, asking for background checks on gun sales written when he was 12, less than five years before the Parkland tragedy that took his life. The hope is that this gift will spark a realization and understanding that receiving political donations from the NRA and other gun lobbyists isn’t worth an innocent child’s life.
Change The Ref is calling on Sen. Cruz to immediately renounce future political funding from the NRA and listen to the people’s will to enact legislation for universal background checks – a commonsense gun law reform that an overwhelming percentage of his constituents in Texas support, including Republican voters.
A petition to demand that lawmakers take action in requiring universal background checks is available at ChangeTheRef.org.
To learn more about the campaign, visit nrachildrensmuseum.com.
images and information courtesy of Change the Ref/NRA Children’s Museum