Toms is on a mission — and it’s taking it on a cross-country road trip.
On Wednesday, the brand announced “The End Gun Violence Together Tour” a multicity event to deliver more than 700,000 postcards to Congress in support of universal background checks. Founder Blake Mycoskie launched the campaign in support of tighter gun control in November shortly after a gunman opened fire at a country music bar near his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., one in a long line of mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
The initiative, which included a pledge of $5 million to organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Faith in Action and March for Our Lives — the single largest corporate donation toward gun control ever in the U.S. — marks a more political turn for the shoemaker, as even with its history of social responsibility programs designed to combat poverty, advocate for peace and support teachers, gun control remains a particularly divisive issue for Americans.
Still, universal background checks are supported by the vast majority of the country — about 90 percent, according to several national polls — and earlier this month, House Democrats introduced legislation that would expand background checks to nearly all firearm purchases, including for those sold online or at gun shows.
Toms’ tour is timed to rally support around the bill, and will kick off in the brand’s hometown of Los Angeles. The group, which is led by Mycoskie along with National Youth Walkout Organizer Winter BreeAnne Minisee and Chief Strategist at March For Our Lives Matt Dietsch, will travel to cities including Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago and Pittsburgh before touching down in Washington, D.C., where, in addition to delivering postcards to representatives, it will host a rally on Feb. 5.
“When we asked Americans to join the fight to End Gun Violence Together in November we could have never expected the incredible and immediate support we saw from people of every age, color and creed across the country,” said Mycoskie in a statement. Now, more than 700,000 strong, he said, “we are ready to show up in Washington to make sure this critical bill passes the House of Representatives.”