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Shoe memorial represents thousands of victims of U.S. gun violence

14 March 2018

"The majority of gun owners want gun control and we're putting lives of these children at the feet of Congress and saying, 'Catch up, act now, let's end this'".

"About five families came that were victims of gun violence", says Oscar Soria, senior campaigner with the protest group.

One of the parents in attendance Tuesday was Tom Mauser, whose son was killed in the Columbine school massacre.

Over a two week period, Avaaz collected shoes from all over the country. "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".

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The Capitol Hill display is not the first time Avaaz has used shoes to make a political statement.

Prominent celebrities, including Bette Midler and Chelsea Handler, helped publicize the drive via social media. Since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Dec 2012 until now, the math shakes out to roughly 7000 kids (0-17) killed by guns since then.

"It's incredible to see", Soria said.

7,000 pairs of empty shoes cover the grass outside the US Capitol.

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

The memorial comes the day before the scheduled national student walkout to protest gun violence following the Parkland, Fla. high school shooting last month that killed 17 people.

Following today's demonstration, the shoes will reportedly be donated to charities.

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Shoe memorial represents thousands of victims of U.S. gun violence