Between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., the shoes were placed on the southeast lawn of the Capitol as a temporary memorial to children killed by gun violence. According to data published in June 2017 in the Pediatric Medical Journal, around 1,300 children die every year after being shot while another nearly 6,000 are injured.
Oscar Soria, a spokesman for online activist network Avaaz, which organized the silent protest, explained that his organization reached the approximate death toll figure of almost 7,000 children by multiplying the fatality rate recorded in the medical journal by the five years and three months that have passed since the Sandy Hook shooting.
— Sara Kenigsberg (@skenigsberg) March 13, 2018
"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," Soria told NBC Washington last week.
The 7,000 pairs of shoes were collected from multiple locations around the DC area. The shoes will be donated to local homeless shelters and other charities.
"We want to represent everyone who's been lost," activist Andrew Nazdin said recently, NBC Washington reported. "We want to bring the tragedy that's been felt in communities across the country right to Congress' doorstep."
— Caroline Patrickis (@Cpatrickis) March 13, 2018
"I think people are really moved by trying to do something to prevent gun violence and see this as something they can do," said Simmie Kerman, the owner of Barstons Child's Play, a toy store in Washington, DC.
The event antecedes the National Student Walkout planned for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14. Students across the nation will walk out of class on the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The tagline of the walkout is #EnoughIsEnough. It will last for 17 minutes — one minute for each person killed in Parkland.