The Soul Box Project on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

This Loss We Carry National Mall Washington DC Poster

This Loss We Carry

On October 16, 2021, the Soul Box Project’s vision became reality when we exhibited our largest memorial memorial to date, providing a dramatic visual for the incomprehensible number of 200,000 people killed or injured by gunfire in the U.S. in fewer than three years.

Within this exhibit, almost 36,000 Soul Boxes represented the number of U.S. gunfire deaths in just one year. This selection of Boxes was exhibited on 800 linear feet of display panels under an open pavilion spanning the width of the Mall. Visitors were able to get up close to view these small, poignant memorials personalized with names, messages and compelling artwork.

Hundreds of volunteers carried the additional 164,000 Soul Boxes onto the Mall in solemn processions, enabling visitors to comprehend the full scale of U.S. gunfire deaths and injuries in just under three years.

The title of this exhibit, This Loss We Carry, is an apt description of how we can honor the many lives torn apart by the gunfire epidemic, echoing similar words from Amanda Gorman’s 2021 inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

The Weekend in Washington D.C. on the National Mall.

We are thankful for everyone who assisted in attaining this major goal of revealing the U.S. gunfire epidemic at our nation’s Capitol. This Loss We Carry was a VISUALLY STUNNING call-to-action and a source of solace and healing for many who participated.

Excellent national media reach by major networks and the Washington Post exceeded 500 million. An estimated 5,000 visitors viewed the exhibit.

Check Out the National Media Coverage for This Loss We Carry

Families Devastated by Loss

WashingtonPost-October 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. Visitors and volunteers gather for the Soul Box Project, an art installation representing victims of gun violence, at the Mall in D.C. on Oct. 16.

Revealing the Gunfire Epidemic on the National Mall

CBS Mornings-October 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. More than 200,000 Soul Boxes were on display at the National Mall. CBS Mornings visited the exhibit and talked to parents who made Soul Boxes for their children, lost to gunfire.

What 200,000 Gunfire Victims Looks Like

Matter of Fact - October 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. The touring exhibit spanned the National Mall, demonstrating that each loss is one we all carry. “Everyone is impacted.”

Survivor Explains the Power of Soul Boxes

WASHINGTON, D.C. Almost 200,000 Soul Boxes lined the National Mall, representing lives lost and injured in the U.S. over the last 3 years. “The gun violence is just unexplainable, right?”

This Loss We Carry Photo and Video Highlights

Friday’s Highlights

Photos of the installation on Friday, October 15.

I’ve watched this procedure before at other exhibits we have done, so the installation was very familiar. But then, I would look up and see the U.S. Capitol building and it would be a reality check.:We are here. This is it. We are on the National Mall making this exhibit happen.” That realization of where we were and how important this was would wash over me again and again throughout the weekend. Leslie Lee, Founder and Director

Friday's Video Highlights
Video of Friday night unloading trucksFriday night set up of soul box project panels across the national mall in washington d.c.Unloading the bags of soul boxes that represent the unnamed victims of gunfire violence

Saturday’s Highlights

Our first day open with visitors coming through the installation – Saturday, October 16.

Whether it was the loss of a son, daughter, friend, or parent due to gunfire, a personal experience with gun violence, injury, or anxiety, or being fed up with the news of gunfire deaths and injuries in their community, each person had a reason to show up. There was joy that loved ones were being counted, honored, and remembered, but a deep sadness and anger at the magnitude of Soul Boxes as well. –Kelsea Ashenbrenner, Soul Box Project Administrative Assistant

Saturday's Video Highlights
Saturday procession caryying bags of soul boxes on the National Mall in Washington D.C.Saturday procession Holding bags of soul boxes on the National Mall in Washington D.C.Visitors to the National Mall in Washington D.C. viewing the panels of soul boxes on display

Sunday’s Highlights

Sunday's Video Highlights
advocate searches wall of Soul Box panels for one of her nephew who was killed in an argument.Closing ceremonial March for the end of the soul box project exhibit on the national mall in washington dcLast of the boxes being packed up to ship back to Soul Box Project headquaters in Portland Oregon