Basic Premise

How Do You Reframe a Controversial Health Policy Issue?

Tens of thousands of shoes displayed in front of Congress protest epidemic levels of annual civilian gun deaths in the USA. Photo by Silent March

ReFrame a Controversial Issue

Our basic premise for this campaign:
A powerful visual can rise above the cyber-torrent of words.


Public Health PR Challenge:
The US rate of suicide and homicide by firearm surpasses that of all industrialized nations, exceeding US military deaths.


A logo contributed by artist Milton Glaser visualizes the campaign’s message.

Image Courtesy of Silent March

Our Strategy:
We devise a national advocacy campaign rooted in a powerful visual of preventable mass death: empty shoes, each pair representing a victim. The goal is to mobilize concerned citizens, humanize the statistics, and create news.

40,000 pairs of empty shoes, representing annual gun-related suicides and homicides (plus a small number of accidents) are collected on a state-by-state basis. Over 100 public events calling for legislation and corporate responsibility are held at manufacturing plants, state legislatures, Republican and Democratic national conventions, the U.N, and in front of the US Congress. Victims, survivors’ families, pediatricians and clergy offer testimony.


Our Success Story:
Our ‘shoes campaign’ runs for nearly a decade. It creates nationwide media buzz and a lasting iconic image. It builds local capacity and participation.

View Our Cases
  • Ellen is an excellent writer and steadfast supporter of good causes. She was named a Fellow for the Join Together Fellows Program .. in recognition of her leadership abilities. Ellen is a strategic thinker who knows how to get the job done. ~Anara Guard, Director of Information and Outreach, Join Together