Photo: Sergi Viladesau  / 


The new travel “postcards” available from The American Shamecard appear, at first glance, as strikingly bold and eye-catching designs of cities and towns from across the U.S. with a historical anecdote on the back—and indeed they are. The cards look like something you’d purchase as a souvenir from a local shop, or something you’d gift to a friend who’s a history buff. But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice something far more disturbing: written and illustrated on each card is the date of a fatal shooting in that state’s history, with details disclosed on the back. Without directly naming the victims or perpetrators, the cards mention the date on which a fatal shooting occurred, with a sentence about its backstory, followed with the question, “How do you want [state name] to be remembered?”

The postcards were created as a change agent by Boston marketing and advertising agency MullenLowe for Parkland, Florida-based Change the Ref, a national gun safety nonprofit founded by Patricia and Manuel Oliver. The Olivers founded the nonprofit after losing their 17-year-old son, Joaquin, in the Parkland, Florida, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, along with 16 other students. The campaign, which is called Shamecards, is Change the Ref’s latest initiative to demand changes to U.S. gun laws. In a video about the campaign featured on, a narrator describes the effort: “American postcards. Every city has one with everything they want to be known for, but our cities are becoming known for something else: mass shootings, all thanks to outdated gun laws.” Designing the cards involved the efforts of 30 artists from 25 countries across the globe, with each card depicting the shooting from the artists’ perspectives.

These cards carry a major shock factor, drawing users in with their intricate designs, which prove especially alarming once it’s realized what the illustrations depict. By drawing in consumers with the colorful imagery, Change the Ref is compelling people to pay attention to a much larger debate and concern. Those who support the movement toward firmer firearm regulations are encouraged to download and print out one of the 50 postcards—there’s one for each state—and send it in to their state legislators to encourage policymakers to implement stricter laws. In addition to the postcards themselves, which are available for free download at, there will also be pop-up postcard stands in Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Seattle, Ad Age reports, to draw more attention and awareness to the cause. 


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.