United States

14K Empty Shoes Near US Capitol Will Honor Child Gun Violence Victims, Group Says

Each pair of shoes would represent the life of a child lost to gun violence since the Sandy Hook massacre

A group seeking gun law reforms wants to line up 7,000 empty pairs of children's shoes near the U.S. Capitol this month -- each pair representing a child killed with a gun since the Sandy Hook massacre. 

The silent protest is intended to put pressure on lawmakers, Oscar Soria, spokesman for the online activist network Avaaz, told News4. The group is coordinating the display. 

"Before so many of us march in our capitol and across the nation, we want to call attention to all those who can’t and remind Congress that part of why we march is because [gun violence victims] can’t,” he said. 

"The response from politicians the day of the Parkland shooting was inexcusable," a promotion for the D.C. event says. "...Now we need to shine the spotlight on all our lawmakers."

The display is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 13. The group is seeking permits, Soria said. The National Park Service did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the permits. 

The event would precede the March for Our Lives, which survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, are organizing for March 24. 

Nearly 1,300 children die every year after being shot, according to data published in June 2017 in the medical journal Pediatrics. Another 5,790 children are hurt, the researchers said. 

Avaaz multiplied the fatality rate by the 5 years and three months that have passed since the Sandy Hook massacre and reached the approximate death toll figure of nearly 7,000 children's lives lost.

Avaaz orchestrated a similar display of 11,000 shoes in Paris, in November 2015, to represent activists' opposition to climate change. Authorities cancelled planned marches after the terror attacks in the city that month. Pope Francis and United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon were among those who donated shoes.

Two days after the Parkland shooting, Avaaz parked three vehicles with billboards outside of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s office in Doral, Florida. The senator opposed a ban on the rifle used in the shooting that left 17 people dead. 

The billboards read "Slaughtered in school," "And still no gun control" and "How come, Marco Rubio?"

Shoes can be donated at these locations through Sunday, March 11. 

  • Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th St. NW
  • New Course Restaurant and Catering, 500 3rd St. NW
  • Code Pink DC Activist House 1241 Evarts St. NE
  • Pleasant Pops (Florida Ave location) 1781 Florida Ave. NW
  • Pleasant Pops (15th St location) 731 15th St. NW
  • Giant Food 7137 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Va.
  • 666 G St. NE
  • 638 A St. SE
  • 7516 Dundalk Road, Takoma Park, MD
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