CONCORD, CA (July 11, 2021) — When Concord resident Lisa Dell’Anno attended the 2017 Women’s March in Walnut Creek, she noticed a group wearing bright red shirts that read “Moms Demand Action.”
The nationwide grassroots movement fights for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. As a mom herself, Dell’Anno was motivated by these local women taking action, so she joined their Diablo Valley chapter to volunteer her time.
“Currently, I’m a co-leader for the Be Smart for Kids group, which helps families discuss gun safety and secure storage,” says Dell’Anno. “I think about my own grandson with his friends. Parents need to be able to talk to each other if there are guns in anyone’s home.”
For their annual Wear Orange event in June that raises awareness about gun violence, Moms Demand Action decided to help the Soul Box Project. The project’s mission is to count and honor victims of gun violence by creating dramatic visual displays of hand-folded paper origami boxes – one box for each soul lost.
Lots of boxes
Local members got busy making lots of boxes. They put 800 on display this month at the aRt Cottage in Concord.
“Everyone came up with different creative designs and messages,” Dell’Anno says. “Some boxes memorialize specific victims, others state gun violence statistics, and many convey a deep sense of loss. But some boxes are also really pretty, to show that these lost souls once had a beautiful life.”
The boxes will eventually make their way to Washington, D.C., for the Soul Box Project’s main event in October at the National Mall. More than 200,000 boxes will be on display. This includes 365 large panels of 100 boxes each that will become a long tunnel to walk through. The panels convey a year’s worth of the average number of U.S. gun-related deaths per day.
Volunteers from gun sense advocacy groups will be wearing large, clear backpacks filled with boxes to express “the loss we carry.” Afterward, they plan to develop traveling Soul Box exhibits to keep the awareness alive and inspire more people to take action in their communities.
While visiting family in Walnut Creek recently, Lynne Bradley saw the Soul Boxes at the aRt Cottage. “Each box is so significant and decorated so brightly to represent each soul who is no longer in this world with their loved ones,” said Bradley, who is making a box for her son, Ross.
“The number of deaths in this country from gun violence, including my son, is overwhelming. The statistics are staggering,” she added.
The Soul Boxes will be at the aRt Cottage at 2238 Mt. Diablo St., Concord, through July 22. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays. People are encouraged make a box for the exhibit with the provided supplies and instructions.
Learn more ways to take action at momsdemandaction.org.