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Empty shoes, empty schools: US gun law activists plan two days of theater

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A makeshift memorial made up of 7,000 pairs of shoes will take shape on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, as gun control activists dramatize the number of children killed in the United States by gunfire since the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre.

The monument is being built on the day before a massive, nationwide walkout by students demanding tougher laws on gun ownership, part of a campaign that emerged after the killing of 17 students and staff at a Florida high school a month ago.

 “This is really about putting the human cost of refusing to pass gun control at the doorstep of lawmakers,” said Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz, a U.S.-based civic organization that planned the shoe memorial. The Capitol is the home of the U.S. Congress.
Wednesday’s #ENOUGH National School Walkout, organized by the activists who helped plan the Women’s March in Washington for the past two years, will begin at 10 a.m. local time (1400 GMT).

Students across the country will walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 victims who lost their lives after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The massacre was the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six adults were shot dead at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.

The walkout has won the support from many school districts and civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union. More than 2,500 walkouts are scheduled across the country, according to the organizer’s website.

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Some schools will allow students to participate and have encouraged them to exercise their free speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A few have threatened to suspend students if they disrupt class by leaving.

“When students protest at schools, our school staff will respond appropriately and allow our students to be heard,” said Robert Runcie, superintendent for public schools for Broward County, Florida, where Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman is located.

About 1,300 people younger than age 18 are killed by gunfire in the United States every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dozens of colleges and universities across the country, including at least three Ivy League schools, have said their application processes will not consider disciplinary action taken against high school students who engage in protests.

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 At the Capitol on Tuesday, activists and volunteers will begin at dawn placing 7,000 pairs of donated children’s shoes side by side in a trapezoid shape to commemorate those who have died since the Newtown massacre. Donors include actresses Susan Sarandon and Bette Midler, and talk show host Chelsea Handler.
The memorial is reminiscent of a monument on the Danube River near the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest commemorating thousands of people, including Jews, killed by fascists in the 1940s.

Many Canadian cities have marked the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6 with similar“shoe memorials.”

Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; editing by Frank McGurty and Rosalba O’Brien

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quit’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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