“I hate that I know him, but I love that he’s in this fight with us and that we’re doing this. We’re going to change this country,” Fred Guttenberg told Manuel Oliver, founder of Change The Ref (CTR) organization. Both of the two parents lost their kids in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida. 15 other victims were killed then. CTR was created in the memory of Manuel and his wife’s, Patricia, son, Joaquin, and exists to expose the disastrous effects of mass shootings. It empowers Future Leaders to make changes through education, conversation, and activism.
In CTR’s way to confront this issue, urban art and nonviolent creative initiatives are implemented. A couple of years ago, Manuel poured his heart into a mural, where the image of his son, a deer, and a panther were contoured. Beneath the animals, the word “protected” stood, while under his son’s image, the father wrote “extinct.”
Last year, the couple used technology to encourage young people to vote. With the power of AI, Joaquin was brought back to life, virtually asking people to finish the vote he never had the chance to express, as 2020 would have been the first year when the teenager could have voted in a presidential election.
Three years later and the Olivers continue to fight gun violence, trying to change gun laws. For the latest initiative, the duo partnered with agency MullenLowe and 30 artists from around the world to send a message about this issue. Their efforts carry the “Shamecards” name, a campaign that features postcards with a design that evokes feelings of shame rather than pride.
The collection is made of 53 postcards “designed to be sent to Congress and demand for gun law reform.” But these are not the classic American postcards; while keeping the design of the traditional ones, with the iconic intro “Greetings from,” colorful backgrounds, and 3D lettering, the Shamecards come with a gruesome truth. Inside the letters are images that portray a tragedy that took place in the represented place.
“Greetings from Parkland, Florida. The city of the Parkland High School Shooting” reads one of them. Users can find the rest of the cards on the website dedicated to the initiative, which Manuel hopes people will use to send lawmakers across the US an unusual souvenir. “These postcards were made in a way that will make not only the representatives but locals understand how others see your city, how others see your community,” he told Oxygen.
Speaking about the artists behind the campaign, Manuel said they are very talented: “They were involved at some point in the advertising industry. These guys know how to send a message. I love that.”
With this initiative, the founder of CTR hopes to get politicians to feel shame about the violent acts that made their states known. “We believe that if I am a representative of any of these cities, shame on me if I am letting this image represent the iconic graphics from my city,” he added.
Client: Change The Ref