“Empty Shoes” Demonstration Outside US Capitol Honors Victims Of Gun Violence

Survivors of the Parkland shooting are gearing up for the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. next Saturday (Mar. 24), and support for the rally reached new heights when protesters left 7,000 pairs of shoes on the Capitol’s front lawn, “bringing the heartbreak of gun violence to Congress’ doorstep.”

Organized by Avaaz, an online activist network, those several thousand shoes represent children lost to gun violence from now dating back to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012. The shoes were donated from across the country. Buzzfeed notes some even belonged to the victims themselves.

“Shoes from family members of victims as well celebrities and citizens across the country will be displayed from early morning,” Avaaz wrote in a press release. “Just before the March for our Lives, Avaaz will bring the heartbreak of gun violence to Congress’ doorstep.”

All of this is an attempt to put more pressure on lawmakers in D.C., to do a complete reform of gun policy. Leading up to the march, spokesman for Avaaz told NBC affiliate News4 they’re demanding Congress pay attention to the lives impacted by gun violence.

“Before so many of us march in our capital and across the nation, we want to call attention to all those who can’t and remind Congress that part of why we march is because [gun violence victims] can’t,” he said. Buzzfeed reports Democratic Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Jim Himes (D-Conn.) visited the demonstration.

March For Our Lives is snowballing into a historic moment. The rally has been granted permits to have as many 500,000 people in downtown D.C., according to The Hill. Celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade, Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and brands like Gucci have either donated copious amounts of money or pledged support for the march.