When visitors walk into Soul Box exhibits and encounter thousands of Soul Boxes, each with a face, name, place or date, they slow down. They look. They read. They spend time with the victims and their stories.
This is a lesson we’ve learned with our first exhibits. Along with the folding and counting and folding and counting to reach our numerical goals, we need to share as many individual stories as possible. That's why it's important to personalize your Soul Boxes. Each victim’s life story takes on power when joined with the stories of others.
Here are some tips for making your Soul Boxes as unique as the lives they represent.
Whenever a shooting makes the news -- especially a mass shooting -- we receive a lot of duplicate Soul Boxes and sets of Soul Boxes. Concentrate on victims who are not represented in the headlines. Here are two sources to learn about the thousands of people who have been killed or injured by gunfire who you haven't seen on the news.
The Gun Violence Archive tracks gun violence incidents in real time from reliable sources.
For the current year, use the 2019 chart. Go to Past Years from the Home Page to access older incidents. Click on any topic (Teens, Home invasion, etc.). This will open up a list of incidents. On the far right of each listing, click on Incident for the updated name and details of the victim or on Source for media coverage. It’s sometimes useful to read the media coverage to find out more about the life of the victim to help you personalize your Soul Box.
The National Gun Violence Memorial provides photos and information about victims.
You can search by town or name or date. Try a random search or use your own first or last name or your hometown or birthdate for variety.
With both these sources, try to find older or lesser-known incidents to increase the number of people we honor in our Soul Box exhibits.
The data behind a shooting -- the name, place and date -- help document the incident. This is often enough to personalize a Soul Box. You can add a photo if it's available or information you learn about the person's life, as well.
Soul Boxes with original artwork used to protest, inspire or heal can be incredibly compelling. Anger, fear, encouragement – use your imagination and express your feelings. Spend a little extra time to create a unique work of Soul Box art.