Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

School violence remembered as thousands of shoes placed before US Congress

School violence remembered as thousands of shoes placed before US Congress

Protesters left 7,000 pairs of shoes in front of the Capitol building Tuesday to symbolize the number of children killed by gun violencein the United Statessince the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012.

The memorial, organized by Avaaz, a USA -based civic organization, and the National School Walkout, organized by the activists behind the Women's March in Washington, are part of a grass-roots movement that grew out of the killing of 17 students and staff at a Florida high school a month ago.

'I think this kind of event with shoes offers a very powerful metaphor both for how we miss the victims who once filled those shoes, and also for how we see ourselves wanting to walk in their place, seeking change, so that others don't have to walk this painful journey'. Each pair of shoes represents one child killed by a gun since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

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Explaining the meaning behind the installation, he said, "There's nobody in those shoes, it's like the emptiness in our hearts from gun violence".

"This is really about putting the human cost of refusing to pass gun control at the doorstep of lawmakers", said Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz.

Avaaz says shoes have also been donated by celebrities, including Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Alyssa Milano, Chelsea Handler, Vanessa Bayer, Brett Davern, Hayley Mills, Colm Meaney, Brenda Meaney, and Harry Clarke.

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The memorial comes the day before the scheduled national student walkout to protest gun violence following the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting last month.

The walkout has won the support of many school districts and civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union. The shoes, all worn, were donated by thousands of people across the country, organizers said.

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