Giving their hearts and soles to prevent gun violence: Shoes placed outside the Capitol building

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Hundreds across Wisconsin are giving their hearts along with their soles. On Monday afternoon, September 22nd, 467 pairs of shoes were placed outside the Capitol Building in Madison — as a visual display of the impact of gun violence.

An average of 467 people are shot and killed every year in Wisconsin. Each pair of shoes represents each of those victims.

“We’ve gotten to the point in our country, where we have started to accept gun violence as normal. I think seeing these shoes drives home the point that there is nothing normal about this” Jeri Bonavia, the executive director of WAVE (Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort) said.

Many, including law enforcement officials, clergy, and gun violence survivors are coming together to travel around Wisconsin this week as part of the Hearts & Soles tour. They’re trying to reduce gun violence through education, awareness and a push for background checks.

The tour kicked of Monday in Madison and will wrap up on Saturday in Milwaukee.

“I was thinking that I would not live. It was the worst thing in my life, but the gratitude to being alive was there. I now have a renewed energy to make sure that no one else has to suffer that,” Kristina Paris, who was robbed and raped at gunpoint a few years ago near Milwaukee.

The shoes will eventually be donated to charities in Milwaukee.


  • 2econd

    “They’re trying to reduce gun violence through education, awareness and a push for background checks”.
    push for background checks? really? why don’t people get upset with the judges that let that thugs out of prison with a slap on the hand!? its really a very, very small amount of people causing the majority of the problems. in most cases the criminal gained his weapon illegally.

    • R

      They fail to realize the vast majority of gun deaths in the milwaukee area are convicted felons who shouldn’t have a gun, killing convicted felons, in the middle of a felony crime. No law is going to combat a criminal, who doesn’t follow the law. It’s meant to crack down on the law abiding citizen. By that logic, they should make murder super illegal, then nobody would do it. Right?

  • Dirk

    I have no idea where they got their numbers from but the highest number of people murdered in Wisconsin was in 1991 and it was 239 people. I guess if you are going to make up a number you might as well make up a big number.

  • dancing in the ruins

    they have to do this in madison because they know if they left shoes out in milwaukee they would all be gone the next morning

  • cynic

    Keep your shoes and your background checks. Criminals will always exist and the only thing that will stop them is equal or greater force, or at the very least severe non-negotiable penalties. Unfortunately both of those methods are frowned upon. That can be directly tied to the efforts of Liberalism.

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