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52 School Buses — a Mile in Length — Traveled to Ted Cruz's Home Carrying Items from School Shooting Victims

NRA Children’s Museum

A mile-long convoy of empty school buses drove through Texas on Thursday, on a mission to get to Sen. Ted Cruz’s home.

Each empty seat of this mobile art installation by Change The Ref founder Manuel Oliver represents over four thousand other victims of school shootings from the past three years alone.

Oliver and his wife Patricia lost their son Joaquin in the Parkland shooting in 2018.

“We are trying to make a difference in this fight against gun violence through non-traditional ways,” Oliver tells PEOPLE.

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NRA Children’s Museum

“The NRA is putting money in the pockets of our representatives,” Oliver continues.

The artist calls the piece the “NRA Children’s Museum,” which Buzzfeed reported was a direct effort to make anyone who sees the bus brigade in person or online wonder for a moment if the National Rifle Association might be involved.

“Ted Cruz alone has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NRA, and that is the reason why things don’t move forward. This has to stop. Our leaders have to start putting lives above profits.”

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The museum is set up in the lead bus, and showcases items that belonged to school shooting victims across the country.

NRA Children’s Museum

The “unthinkable” collection features photos, videos, audio and personal items that belonged to children who have lost their lives during mass shootings. From a Nickelodeon backpack to a Girl Scout sash, these are truly the objects that would be a young person’s pride and joy.

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“According to the CDC, since 2020, firearms have overtaken car accidents to become the leading cause of death in children,” a press release from Change The Ref stated.

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Joaquin, the Olivers’ son, wrote a letter five years before his death that specifically addressed gun control in America.

“I am writing this letter to talk to you about how we’re going to solve this gun law movement,” the letter reads. “Most of you have a problem with the idea of universal back round check. Why are you mad that there’s a back round check it’s for your own good maybe you are fond of having crazy people with death machines. You shouldn’t have anything against back round checks if you’re innocent.”

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Oliver hoped to deliver the letter written by his late son to Cruz personally, but according to Buzzfeed a security guard accepted the letter on Cruz’s behalf.

Change The Ref was founded by Oliver and his wife in an effort to prevent similar school shootings happening to other families. As a gun control and anti-gun violence advocacy organization, they use creative, artistic means to appeal to lawmakers who hold the power to change gun laws.

“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,” Patricia Oliver said.

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