Gun control activists arranged 7,000 pairs of shoes on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building Tuesday to honor victims of gun violence, Reuters reports.
"Avaaz will bring the heartbreak of gun violence to Congress' doorstep", it said in a statement, adding that guns kill over 1,300 kids a year in the United States.
In the shadow of the Capitol, an emotional tribute to child victims of gun violence took an unorthodox format: Thousands of shoes.
"There's nobody in those shoes, it's like the emptiness in our hearts from gun violence", said Mauser, 66, of Littleton, Colorado. "The majority of Americans want a change in gun laws, and a majority of gun owners want change", said Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz. But the president backed away from those proposals and instead outlined school safety measures this week favored by the National Rifle Association.
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. They represent every child that was killed by gunfire since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
"When students protest at schools, our school staff will respond appropriately and allow our students to be heard", said Robert Runcie, superintendent for public schools for Broward County, Florida, where Parkland's Marjory Stoneman is located. "They're not going to be distracted about Russian Federation, about other things", Mauser said.
Per the group's website, all of the shoes will be donated to Washington, D.C., area homeless shelters and charities after the memorial concludes.
Many Canadian cities have marked the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6 with similar "shoe memorials".