Students from Palm Beach County High Schools and Marjory Stoneman Douglas laid side-by-side to mark the anniversary of the 49 people left dead at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando two years ago, NY Daily News reports.
Held in West Palm Beach across the water from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, the die-in protests were especially symbolic for the Stoneman Douglas students who suffered great losses when a gunman entered the school’s corridors and killed 17 people in the mass Parkland Florida shooting.
There were some 50 participants for the Pulse die-in and they spent 12 minutes motionless on the ground. Some brought signs calling for stricter gun laws and advocating for less gun violence while other signs had the faces of the victims with words of remembrance.
“I was up until 1 a.m. June 12, 2016, and unknowingly during the Pulse shooting. I sobbed going through Orlando the next day,” explained Stoneman Douglas Sophomore Caspen Becher.
Becher, one of the event’s organizers said the experience left him traumatized.
“It was terrifying. I didn’t know if my brother was safe,” explained Becher. “I have a twin brother who also attends. I didn’t know where he was or if he was safe.”
Manuel Oliver, father of slain Stoneman Douglas Senior, Juaquin Oliver, who honored his son by painting a mural and calling for change, said he will continue to use his voice and voting power to push for stricter gun laws.
“We’re gonna vote for the right people. That’s our goal,” shared Manuel Oliver, who showcases his activism online. “We are doing this to honor our son and to follow his path.”
Also, in attendance at the die-in were members of anti-gun violence group March for our Lives, and Gays Against Guns. The protesters wore the color orange to symbolize gun safety.