The hot pink shoe laces caught my eye. As I looked more closely, I could see the laces belonged to a pair of tennis shoes surrounded by many different pairs of shoes and placed in the lawn in front of the capital building. What was this, I wondered? It was one of 7,000 pairs of children’s shoes representing the children killed by gun violence since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The global advocacy group Avaaz organized the displayed called “Monument for our Children” in front of the U.S. Capital to “bring Congress face to face with the heartbreak of gun violence.” There is no doubt that it tells a powerful story.
The immediate reaction to a horrendous shooting is to offer thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. Comfort fills an immediate need for these families who have lost a child much too young to be gone. Sadly, prayer and words of sorrow have become hollow especially when said by our congressmen or senators because they have failed to make any substantive changes to gun laws that would prevent these types of shooting from happening again.
The silent shoe demonstration took place in the early hours the day before the student walkout all around the country. This walk out by thousands of students lasted 17 minutes for the 17 students and staff killed in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students held signs saying #enough is enough, protect children not guns, and how many more? For them, prayers are no longer enough. Now we need action.
Let us to put continual pressure on our representatives to stand up to the NRA and pass common sense gun safety laws that will make a difference. Every one of us can take some kind of action. Write a letter, make a call, march in the #Marchforourlives event this Saturday, March 24th. I fear that we will again be praying for victims and families of gun violence in our schools if we fail to act on this issue while we can.