Guide to Creating a “Walk in Their Shoes” display at a Bank of America Action

Does the 1% have any idea what reality is like for everyday Americans whose homes are being foreclosed on, whose lives are uprooted by economic injustice?  Let’s ask CEOs and big bankers to “walk in our shoes” and visualize the hardship so many of us are facing in the US right now.  By lining up pairs of shoes tagged with identities of people, like “Becky, 46, single mother of three, teacher, FORECLOSED HOME” you can invite passersby to put themselves in the shoes of someone facing economic crisis.  This visual display is easy to create outside of a Bank of America or another target location of your choosing.

Photo of a pair of shoes set up during an anti-war demonstration

1) Gather/buy shoes — men’s, women’s and children’s shoes — from local thrift stores or do a used shoe drive from your neighbors, friends and family. Decide on a drop-off location, like your front doorstep, an office, a community center, or a café, and send out an email to your community inviting them to donate shoes. You can gather a few pairs of shoes to represent a single family whose home has been foreclosed on, or lots of shoes to indicate a large number of foreclosures in your community. Be sure to have pairs of shoes and tie or rubber band them together.

2) Put names on the shoes: Get shoe tags from your local office supply store. Shipping tags, 4 3/4″ x 2 3/8″ work well. If you have names of people who have had their homes foreclosed on by Bank of America, write them on the tags, preferably with their permission. Or you can write “Child/foreclosed,” “Single mother/foreclosed,” “Father of 3/foreclosed,” “Grandmother/daycare worker/foreclosed” etc.

3) Make a banner: Get some pink fabric and use paint or marker to make a banner that says “Walk in Their Shoes” and “End Foreclosures, B of A”. Use this banner with your shoe display.

4) Pick your location: Display the shoes in front of or next to a prominent Bank of America branch in your city or town. Make sure that people going to the ATMs or the bank can have access, but also still see the “Walk in Their Shoes” display.

6) Invite your friends and the media to the action. Send out an email announcement, make some phone calls, and send out a press release.

7) Create your Walk in Their Shoes action: Set up the shoes in a pile or a row — create a visual where the media (and your own photographers/livestreamers) can capture your whole message in a shot. Add the banner. Speak to the general public, bank customers and employees, the media, and others about the reasons you are protesting at a Bank of America. Do a reading aloud of the 13 Reasons to Target Bank of America. Keep the tone serious and respectful. Encourage people to read the tags on the shoes, and if possible, to tell their own stories about the need for breaking up of “Too Big to Fail” banks, or of economic injustice.

8) Tell Women Occupy how your action went! Add a report back and photos to http://womenoccupy.tumblr.com/

Questions?  Email info[at]codepink.org to talk with Janet who wrote this guide!

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