• Press Release

Voices lost to gun violence return to call lawmakers with their stories and demand change

AI-powered platform re-creates the voices of victims killed in shootings
to force lawmakers to take a stance against gun violence.

WASHINGTON — Guns are now the leading cause of death among children for the third consecutive year, sparing almost no neighborhood and falling particularly hard on Black and brown communities. And yet, politicians continue to offer their thoughts and prayers and make excuses. Today, parents, survivors, and advocates for gun safety will launch The Shotline (theshotline.org), an automated platform and campaign that uses artificial intelligence to re-create the voices of innocent victims of gun violence so they can share, in their own voices, their harrowing stories  Each victim’s personal message will be sent as a phone call directly to lawmakers, again and again, to force them to confront the toll their inaction has taken.

Led by Change the Ref and March For Our Lives, The Shotline uses audio provided by victims’ families and deep machine learning to create a computerized version of each victim’s voice. Last year, more than 40,000 people lost their lives to guns, but they will not remain silent. Lawmakers will receive detailed calls from victims like Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Joaquin Oliver, saying:

“Hello, I’m Joaquin Oliver. Six years ago, I was a senior at Parkland. Many students and teachers were murdered on Valentine’s Day that year by a person using an AR-15, but you don’t care. You never did. It’s been six years, and you’ve done nothing, not a thing to stop all the shootings that have happened since.

“The thing is, I died that day in Parkland. My body was destroyed by a weapon of war. I’m back today because my parents used AI to re-create my voice to call you. Other victims like me will be calling too, again and again, to demand action. How many calls will it take for you to care? How many dead voices will you hear before you finally listen? Every day, your inaction creates more voices. If you fail to act now, we’ll find somebody who will.”

Ten-year-old Uziyah “Uzi” Garcia will also make calls with his story, saying:

Hi! This is Uzi Garcia. I love video games, telling jokes and making my friends laugh, and jumping on the trampoline with my family. I’m a fourth grader at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, or at least I was when a man with an AR-15 came into my school and killed 18 of my classmates, two teachers, and me.

“That was almost two years ago. Nothing has changed. Even more shootings have happened. That’s why my family re-created my voice using AI to call you today and demand a change. You’ll be getting more calls from others like me. I used to love helping people. What is it going to take for you to help make sure violence like this stops?”

At launch, representatives will receive direct calls from:

Uziyah Garcia—10-year-old killed alongside 18 classmates and two teachers in the Uvalde school shooting at Robb Elementary School by a man with an AR-15

Joaquin Oliver—17-year-old shot and killed by an AR-15 during a February 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

Ethan Song—15-year-old killed by a gun left unsecured at a friend’s house

Jaycee Webster—20-year-old shot and killed in his bedroom by a lone gunman

Michael Baughan—died from a self-inflicted shot to the head using a gun he was able to purchase in only 15 minutes

Akilah Dasilva —23-year-old killed by a man with an AR-15 in a Waffle House mass shooting

Developed in partnership with MullenLowe, the campaign will also invite the public to share their own stories with the platform and send AI-generated messages from other victims across the country.

Change the Ref founders Manuel and Patricia Oliver, parents of Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, along with members of March For Our Lives, will launch The Shotline campaign in a rally outside the U.S. Capitol on February 14, six years to the day after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Youth activists and families of gun violence victims are returning to Washington to continue demanding immediate action from the Biden administration and state lawmakers.

“Some might judge me because I’m using artificial intelligence to re-create the voice of my murdered son,” Manuel Oliver said. “Let us judge politicians that use their organic intelligence to do nothing to save lives.”

The Shotline platform includes a searchable database of public contact information for state representatives, allowing people to easily call lawmakers directly to voice their opinions. The Shotline also provides a form that allows people to submit lost loved ones to be voices on the platform. Each new submission will go through a verification process to confirm identities and approvals to re-create each victim’s story. To learn more and send a call, visit theshotline.org.

“Six years ago today, at a shooting at my high school, 17 lives were taken and another 17 people’s lives [were] forever changed by profound injuries. My classmates and I refused to accept that as normal,” said David Hogg, board member and co-founder of March For Our Lives. “We grieved, and we still grieve, but we decided to also turn that grief into action. Yet too many weak politicians are comfortable with the status quo. They won’t stand up to the gun lobby and take bold action. Now, for the very first time, politicians will hear directly from the victims of their willful ignorance. Through The Shotline, our leaders will be forced to confront their hypocrisy and the consequences of their inaction through calls from AI-generated voices of those killed by gun violence in America under our leaders’ watch. I’m so honored to stand with Manny Oliver and Change the Ref on this survivor-driven campaign to force our leaders to face the pain and trauma that survivors feel every day. If they won’t listen to us, I hope they will listen to the victims, and if they don’t, nothing will stop us from voting them out in November.”



CTR is a nonprofit dedicated to reforming gun laws.

Manuel Oliver, founder of Change the Ref and father of Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, is forcing lawmakers and Americans to address the inaction of our country, which has a tragic and shameful reputation for gun violence due in part to the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Ultimately, the goal is to flood the inboxes and mailboxes of U.S. Congress so they’ll be compelled to enact change to reflect the pride and sense of duty they feel for the cities and towns they represent. And now, with a morally bankrupt NRA, new faces in Congress, and a new administration, there’s truly an opportunity for that change. For more information, visit changetheref.org.


Born out of a tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, March For Our Lives is the largest youth movement in the nation fighting to end the epidemic of gun violence. Our mission is to harness the power of young people across the country to fight for common-sense gun violence prevention policies that will save lives. We tackle gun violence through a holistic and intersectional approach, addressing racial injustice, calling for an end to oppressive power structures, and fighting for preventive measures and investments in communities. Since our founding in 2018, we’ve mobilized millions and changed history; our work has led to the passage of over 300 gun safety laws, billions of dollars invested in lifesaving programs, and youth voters turning out in record numbers.

We are now the leading voice for youth activism in the nation, continuing to prove that young people are a force to be reckoned with, and we won’t stop fighting for a future free of gun violence. Join our fight by visiting marchforourlives.com or following us at @MarchForOurLives.


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