Online activist network Avaaz is rallying people around the country to donate children’s shoes — and shine a spotlight on gun violence around the country.
The group is planning a highly-visible monument for next week in Washington, D.C.: The goal is to line up 7,000 pairs of kids’ shoes to give a voice to every child that has been killed by gun violence since the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Celebrities, including Chelsea Handler, have already begun to rally around the cause. For more on how to donate, click here .
The initiative, planned for March 13, will come just a week ahead of this month’s “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C. — an event that will bring families and children together to demand that lawmakers make ending gun violence a priority.
Avaaz has already made some major moves in wake of the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. last month. Accused gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, used an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon during the rampage. Ten hours after the shooting, Avaaz set up mobile billboards that drove around Sen. Marco Rubio’s Florida office. The aim was to call out Rubio and other lawmakers for their lack of action on the gun violence issue.
The group has also used shoes in the past to raise awareness about key issues. In 2015, it laid out thousands of shoes in Paris’ Place de la République ahead of climate negotiations. (That move happened because global protesters were not allowed to march in wake of terrorist attacks in the city.)
Another grassroots group, called Silent March, first used shoes to bring attention to gun violence in 1994 and 1996, displaying 40,000 shoes at the U.S. Capitol.
Retailers have also been taking a stand on the issue. Dick’s Sporting Goods announced on last week that it will end selling assault-style weapons and raise its age requirement for purchasing guns to 21. Walmart, the biggest seller of guns in the U.S., quickly followed with a similar announcement that same day, adding that it will no longer sell assault-style toys and air guns.