On Sunday (June 2), Dwyane Wade traveled to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to surprise its 2019 graduating class with an unforgettable speech, ABC News reports. The Parkland, Fla., high school’s commencement honored the 17 students and staff who were killed in a mass shooting, and to lift up their memory, Wade’s speech encouraged the assembly to walk in a path of justice for all.
“What I loved most and appreciated the most was that you all became advocates,” he said. “You became the faces and the voices for kids all around the world. I’m so proud to say the words MSD strong.” The Parkland shooting ignited a wave of calls for stricter gun laws.
Prior to that statement, the now-retired Miami Heat player noted that his life transcends basketball and it was important to him to return to the school for this moment. He also recalled the time he arrived at the school when it reopened. “I remember pulling up and seeing a few security guards outside. I remember being met by one of the staffers,” he said. “I remember us walking to the school and I remember hearing absolutely nothing. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’ve never felt—I’ve never heard this kind of silence before in my life.'”
Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire on students and faculty on February 14, 2018. His charges include 34 counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder. A trial to determine Cruz’s prison sentence has yet to begin.
— Safeer Bhatti, Ph.D. (@drsafeerbhatti) June 2, 2019
Joaquin Oliver, a student who lost his life during the mass shooting, was a longtime fan of Wade’s. “Even though the game has brought certain people to admire me, this definitely makes it bigger than that,” Wade said, referencing the notification that Oliver’s family buried him in Wade’s jersey. “And for me to be a part of that—that he would have wanted to be buried in my jersey—that’s mind-boggling to me.”
This is Joaquin Oliver. He was one of the 17 young lives that were lost tragically at Douglas HighSchool in Parkland. Joaquin was one of many that i heard was excited about my return to Miami and yesterday was buried in my jersey. This is why we will not just SHUT up and dribble! pic.twitter.com/X0tfTTao33
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 26, 2018