Three years afterwards Manny Oliver absent his son Joaquin in the accumulation cutting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Academy in Parkland, Florida, he’s acquisitive to accelerate a able bulletin about gun violence, literally.
In a annoying art advance through the nonprofit alignment Change the Ref—which was founded by Manny and his wife Patricia in the after-effects of their son’s death—Manny hopes to change the chat about gun abandon application a accepted anatomy of communication: the postcard.
But while best postcards highlight a destination’s best adorable features, Manny affairs to use the greeting to focus on the added baleful claims to acclaim for American cities beyond the country.
“Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina. Land of the Charleston Church Shooting,” one of the postcards reads. The postcard borrows the aforementioned appearance and ablaze colors begin on acceptable cards, but is abutting with clear images of the June 17, 2015 accumulation cutting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which larboard nine bodies dead, recreated by one of 30 artists common who alternate in the project.
“Greetings from El Paso, Texas. Home of the 2019 El Paso Shooting,” addition reads amidst images of beat Walmart barter accepting attempt in the back, referencing the advance at the big box abundance that dead 23.
These Shamecards, as they are known, were advised to access acquaintance about gun abandon beyond America with “provocative, belly scenes on the front” and “sobering descriptions of anniversary shooting” on the aback of anniversary postcard, according to a account about the project.
Manny is acquisitive bodies log on to their website to accelerate the able postcards to assembly beyond the country to seek activity on gun reform.
“These postcards were fabricated in a way that will accomplish not alone the representatives, but locals, accept how others see your city, how others see your community,” he told Oxygen.com.
He and his wife apperceive the affliction of gun abandon first-hand. The brace absent their son Joaquin on Feb. 14, 2018 afterwards a 19-year-old apache stormed into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened blaze with a semi-automatic rifle.
Joaquin was attempt four times and was one of 17 acceptance and agents associates to lose their activity at the academy that day.
Manny doesn’t apperceive for sure, but can alone achievement his alone son—who had admired music, was a abundant biographer and had been a “smart dude”—didn’t ache in those aftermost moments.
His activity aback that blood-soaked afternoon has been “dramatically different.” Every morning, he wakes up to his son’s abandoned room. He’ll never see what affectionate of man Joaquin would accept become. He’ll never accept grandkids.
And he’s afflicted to abide to watch as the cardinal of those who die from gun abandon continues to grow.
“Since I absent my son, Joaquin …120,000 bodies accept died because of gun violence,” he said. “All the campaigns, all the efforts, political bulls–t, everything that we accept heard, hasn’t brought complete after-effects to the capital ambition of extenuative lives.”
Just a few weeks afterwards Joaquin died, he and Patricia knew they capital to do article to try to stop gun violence—even acceptance they knew they would no best be as anon impacted by any approaching agitated acts as others who still had article to lose.
“The sad allotment is they charge us, the families of the victims, to actualize this awareness,” Manny said. “The big aberration is that I already absent my son. I don’t backpack that fear. Others should be way added anxious than myself to accomplish abiding that things change.”
The brace absitively the “only way that we can accumulate arena the role” of parents was to abide the anti-gun abandon movement that Joaquin himself had been a allotment of afore his death.
“We went over Joaquin’s accomplished thoughts and accomplishments and activism and we aloof fabricated an addendum of that,” Manny said of the goals and priorities of Change the Ref.
Manny—an artisan himself—is now consistently appetite to acquisition new, artistic means to get his bulletin heard. In 2019, he corrective a mural with an American banderole with the chat “ban” accounting beyond it. He pasted a photo of his son, a Key Deer and a Florida Panther on the image, with the words “protected” beneath the angel of the animals, and the chat “extinct” beneath his son’s photo, according to bounded base WFOR-TV. Aftermost year, Manny and Patricia teamed with artists from “The Unfinished Votes” advance to use bogus intelligence to accompany their son aback to activity digitally to ask others to “finish” the vote he never could cast, according to the bounded station.
“The artistic action is a connected artistic process,” Manny said. “I don’t like blockage on a campaign. It doesn’t amount how able it was. I ability use it afterwards or not, but I am added anxious about what’s next,” he said.
Manny’s efforts now accept angry to the Shamecards campaign, which use Americana-style cartoon and the ability of announcement to advice construe their bulletin about gun violence.
“In this accurate case, we accept actual accomplished artists,” he said of the 30 artists from 25 countries who formed calm to actualize the images. “They were complex at some point in the announcement industry. These guys apperceive how to accelerate a message. I adulation that.”
One of those artists is Jen McMahon—who created seven of the postcards, including those for Las Vegas, Nevada, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Salt Lake City, Utah and Prices Corner, Delaware—as allotment of her job with MullenLowe, a Massachusetts-based announcement and business agency.
“I feel like that destructive projects don’t appear up in artistic accumulated environments. You know, actual risky, impactful, subversive, direct-action affectionate of projects are usually article you do afterwards work,” she said of her accommodation to get involved. “When we were accustomed this befalling to be like, ‘Look, you are activity to be complex in some actively emotionally impactful stuff’ … I had to jump on that opportunity.”
For anniversary postcard, McMahon researched the agitated accident through account clips and video and afresh set to assignment aggravating to put pen to paper.
“The images, at atomic the actuality that I drew, I kept it actual loose. Best of the actuality I drew was like a cartoon appearance and I capital to back abhorrence and abandon because there is no way to belie accouchement actuality collapsed or ancestors associates actuality murdered,” she told Oxygen.com. “There is no added message. The eyewitness should be fabricated afflictive and scared.”
The affecting aspect of the activity took its assessment on McMahon, who generally formed on the agitated postcards while sitting at her board at home, abreast a window overlooking her neighborhood.
“I am sitting actuality and I am audition the, like, complete joy of accouchement arena and agreeable alfresco in the summer time and I am central cartoon accouchement actuality slaughtered,” she said, acceptance “that is back the activity became difficult for me.”
McMahon eventually had to abutting her up windows to block out the alfresco apple as she accomplished the postcards, but admitting the abundant affecting toll, she said she was still accustomed to participate in the project.
“I absolutely appetite some accelerating benevolence to appear out of this project,” she said. “If one baby-kisser in ability is afflicted by this project, a baby-kisser that doesn’t already anticipate what anybody who formed on the activity thinks, and one of them has a change of affection or a change of mind, I would accede the absolute activity to be a abundant success.”
According to Manny, the ambition of the activity is to get politicians to feel shame about abandon their accompaniment is now accepted for.
“We accept that if I am a adumbrative of any of these cities, abashment on me if I am absolution this angel represent the iconic cartoon from my city,” he said.
He’s additionally acquisitive that abounding legislators’ own besom with abandon aftermost ages during the Capitol anarchism will advice actuate change.
“Now they went through that experience, they are advantageous they can allotment the experience, not like Joaquin who has to use his dad to allotment his experience,” he said.
While Manny is acquisitive to see the appulse of this latest campaign, he knows his assignment is far from over.
“I am actual excited,” he said. “It’s addition advance and again, this is a ceaseless job. I don’t accept any added advantage but this one, and I am activity to do this until my aftermost days.”
To accelerate your own postcard, visit Shamecards.
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