Silent March ad campaign in Philadelphia
100 city buses and fifty trains to advertise during Republican Convention
This Item Updated 7/1/00

Philadelphia, PA-Silent March, a national grassroots gun control organization, has unveiled an advertising campaign that will appear on 100 Philadelphia city buses and fifty trains leading up to, and during, the Republican National Convention. The bus ads will travel the City Center route and the subway ads will be on trains traveling to and from First Union Center–site of the convention. Commuters, tourists and convention delegates will see the ads, scheduled to run from July 10 to August 10.

Designed by the Connecticut based firm Unconventional Wisdom, the advertisements feature a photograph and the shoes of Derek Paul Valentin, murdered by gunfire at the age of 17. Derek, an Iona Prep student and aspiring physician, was shot three times in the back. The advertisement’s caption reads: “When you kill handgun legislation, you kill more than a bill.” The tagline reads: “It’s just common sense.”

Since 1994, Silent March has organized empty shoe exhibits, or “silent marches” across the country–from the US Capitol to the front gates of the nation’s largest gun makers. At these demonstrations, Silent March displays thousands of empty shoes to raise awareness and to encourage voters to examine the positions of candidates regarding how they would reduce gun violence. The Silent March supports “commonsense” measures such as closing the gun show loophole, one-gun-a-month laws, and regulating guns like other consumer products. It does not call for a ban on handguns.

“As the Republican party gathers in this historic city to engage in one of our nation’s greatest democratic traditions, we must recognize how we are failing our children by allowing the epidemic of gun violence to go unchecked,” said Ellen Freudenheim, co-founder of Silent March. “These advertisements are a wake up call that American families are demanding sensible regulation of the gun industry, including oversight of the design, manufacture, distribution, marketing of firearms.

“These powerful advertisements will be part of a series of protests and demonstrations during the convention to draw attention to the need for stronger laws to prevent gun violence. 350 pairs of empty shoes will be displayed at the Liberty Bell, symbolizing the Americans that will be lost to gun violence over the four days spanning the Republican convention (projected daily average based on 1997 statistics). All 350 pairs of these shoes belonged to someone killed by gunfire. At Independence Historic Park, a massive display of nearly 30,000 pairs of shoes will be erected symbolizing the number of Americans killed by gunfire in a single year. Silent March will also stage protests and demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention.


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