Empty shoes, empty schools: U.S. gun law activists plan two days of theater

From Reuters - March 13, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A makeshift memorial made up of 7,000 pairs of shoes took shape on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, as gun control activists dramatized the number of children killed in the United States by gunfire since the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre.

The shoe demonstration comes a day before a massive nationwide walkout by students to demand tougher laws on gun ownership, part of a campaign that emerged after the killing of 17 students and staff at a Florida high school a month ago.

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, a U.S.-based civic organization that planned the shoe memorial. The Capitol is the home of the U.S. Congress.

Activists and volunteers gathered at dawn, placing 7,000 colorful pairs of donated childrens footwear side by side in a trapezoid shape to commemorate those who have died since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Dozens of people were seen standing in front of the shoes, holding large, black signs with the words#NOTONEMORE and7000 KIDS KILLED written on them.

Donors to the shoe monument include actresses Susan Sarandon and Bette Midler, and talk show host Chelsea Handler.

Wednesdays #ENOUGH National School Walkout, organized by the activists who helped plan the Womens March in Washington for the past two years, will begin at 10 a.m. local time (1400 GMT).

Students across the country will walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 victims who lost their lives in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.


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