Protesters left 7,000 pairs of shoes on the lawn in front of the US Capitol. UU Tuesday morning, symbolizing the lives of children lost in armed violence since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012.
The protest was prepared by Avaaz, a global advocacy group, to pressure Congress to approve Gun control legislation following the shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month that killed 17 people.
Some of the shoes on the lawn of the Capitol belonged to the victims themselves, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
"Shoes of family members of victims and celebrities and citizens from across the country will be displayed early in the morning, just before the March for our lives, Avaaz will bring the anguish of armed violence to the door of the Congress, "the group wrote in a press release announcing the protest.
The March for Our Lives, organized by the survivors of the Parkland shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, is scheduled for March 2 4
Tom Mauser, whose 15-year-old son, Daniel, died In the 1999 shooting at Columbine, he attended the protest with a pair of his son's shoes on Tuesday.
"I'll travel to DC literally wearing my It's Daniel's shoes, the ones he wore the day he died at Columbine," Mauser said in a press release before the event. "I think this type of event with shoes offers a very powerful metaphor about how we miss the victims who once filled those shoes, and also about how we see ourselves that we want to walk in their shoes, seeking change, so that others do not do it. " we have to walk this painful journey. "
Some members of Congress came out to watch the exhibit, including Democratic representatives Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Jim Himes of Connecticut." It's too much for the heart, "Himes wrote on his official Instagram" We must act. "
" I visited the #NotOneMore screen today and I left a pair of shoes to honor the 7000 young people lost to armed violence from Sandy Hook, "Grijalva wrote in his Instagram account." I'm tired of the inaction and collapse that NRA lobbyists have in Congress. Passing security legislation with common sense weapons that protect our children should not be so difficult. #EndGunViolence. "
Avaaz said it decided to display 7,000 shoes to represent the lives of children lost due to firearms from Sandy Hook, according to figures from a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics that found that an average of 1,300 children die each year. The study is based, in part, on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"This facility was really about giving the 7,000 children … a voice," said Emma Ruby-Sachs, assistant principal. Avaaz News BuzzFeed News "These kids can not be there because we did not pass gun control fast enough for them."
Ruby-Sachs said that several House Democratic members passed by, and she estimated that hundreds saw the screen, including "school groups" passing by and stopping in. One of the members was Rep. Ted Deutch, the Democrat who represents the district Parkland is in. Ruby-S achs said he cried "and talked about what it means for him to see all these shoes on the lawn."
Ruby-Sachs said all the shoes were donated and, now that the installation is finished, they will be donated to homeless shelters across the country.
"This action was really about a human connection, not a political one".