HOUSTON - A mile-long convoy of school buses filled with mementos of children who have lost their lives to shootings since 2020 is visiting Senator Ted Cruz in Houston on Thursday morning.
Change The Ref, a gun control and anti-gun violence advocacy organization, is behind the convoy of 52 buses, which they are calling the NRA Children's Museum. They stopped by the senator's home and then went to his offices, where they lined up into the afternoon.
According to a press release, the campaign 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."
The senator is the leading recipient of gun lobbyist funding in Texas, according to Change The Ref.
The buses, whose empty seats represent more than 4,000 children who died of gun violence, are filled with their photos, videos, audio recordings, and personal memories – from a Nickelodeon backpack from Santa Clarita, California to a girl scout sash from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Sen. Cruz will also be presented with a "gift" by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose son Joaquin Oliver was one of the 17 victims in the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting. The gift is a letter from Joaquin asking for background checks on gun sales written when he was 12, less than five years before the tragedy that took his life.
"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, who 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."
Patricia and Manuel Oliver co-founded Change the Ref in their son Joaquin’s memory. He was one of the 17 victims in the Parkland school massacre.
"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. "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."
FOX 26 reached out to Sen. Cruz for comment. His spokesman released the following statement:
"Senator Cruz is committed to enacting policies that would stop school shootings. To that end, he introduced legislation to double the number of school resource officers, hire 15,000 school-based mental health professionals to ensure there is early intervention to identify and help at-risk kids, to provide significant resources for enhanced school safety, and to improve the gun background system and prosecute persons who try to illegally buy guns."