GUAC: An Activism Tour

What do you do when you lose a son? Take it from Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland shooting victim, Joaquin Oliver, you have to what you do best. GUAC is a one-man play about a father turned activist, and his undying love for his son.

Opinions expressed below are those of the author, Gourmet Rambler. This post is not sponsored.

Guns. A polarizing subject, a hot button issue, a constitutional right, and the list goes on. We can no longer pretend that gun violence isn’t plaguing this country. We should know, we live and write in Chicago, a war zone according to many non-Chicagoans. The raging debate consumes the news cycles everywhere. We have become numb, desensitized to the news of shootings, possibly out of self-preservation. It is understandable: we are bombarded with these stories daily, if not hourly. Guns. Shots fired. Drive-by. Man dead. Woman dead. Child… dead.

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Manuel Oliver in his studio (Photo by Eduardo Schneider)

No matter which side of the debate you land on though, we think that everyone can universally agree that when we send our children to school, we expect them to come home alive. But mass shootings in the United States, in year 2023 to date, have already topped 400 (Source: CNN). There have been 23 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths, according to Education Week analysis. There have been 167 such shootings since 2018. There were 51 school shootings with injuries or deaths last year, the most in a single year since Education Week began tracking such incidents in 2018. There were 35 in 2021, 10 in 2020, and 24 each in 2019 and 2018.


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Joaquin “Guac” Oliver (Photo from IMDb website)

Joaquin Oliver was killed at the Parkland school shooting in 2018. His parents, Manuel and Patricia, have become activists in the fight for gun violence prevention. They are currently on a 23-day activism tour in honor of their son’s 23rd birthday. Guac’s Magical Tour (Guac being Joaquin’s nickname) will stop in Chicago for one night only, August 5th, 2023. “Guac’s Magical Tour- Guacathon 2023 will visit, honor, empower, and remember many of the communities that suffered firsthand the injustice behind gun violence and mass shootings,” a press release states.

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Manuel and Patricia Oliver (Photo by Marc J. Franklin)

As part of the tour, Manuel Oliver is staging his one-man show GUAC. Written by Manuel Oliver and James Clements, the play is directed by Michael Cotey. What do you do when you lose a son? You have to do what you do best. Fearless, funny, and pulling zero punches, GUAC is a one-man tour-de-force about a father turned activist, and his undying love for his son. This is the story of an immigrant family in search of the American Dream, that is instead confronted by a uniquely American Nightmare.

Your Chicago Guide will be in attendance. We earnestly hope that all of you will come out to see the play as well. Let’s sell out this event, Chicago. For Joaquin Oliver and every other child slain by gun violence.

GUAC will be performed one night only, August 5th, 2023, at 7:30pm at The Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 North Lincoln Avenue, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Tickets are $23, the age Joaquin would be were he alive today. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit