Using Art to Raise Awareness of Gun Violence

#NoMoreEmptyDesks uses school desks as a way for high school students to create a message about the impact of loss from gun violence, whether in their school or community. The idea was conceived by Robin Cogan, a school nurse in Camden City School District (New Jersey) after receiving the idea in response to one of her tweets. She partnered with an art teacher (Lisa Wallenburg) in her district and a student (Christian) to paint the desks. Desks are being crafted in the art room at Brimm Medical Arts High School in Camden, New Jersey. There are two so far, with much interest for others to be created. Christian created a multi-cultural depiction of hands intertwined, symbolizing the prevalence of gun violence across all communities. The rose, a symbol of love and remembrance, was strategically placed as an offering to families of lost students as a message that they are not alone in their grief.

Christian hopes that this movement will go viral, with every high school will embrace the project and making it part of their curriculum to raise awareness about the impact of gun violence on schools and communities while elevating the voices of students.  

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Listen to Christian in his own words describe his experience participating in #NoMoreEmptyDesks, and his teacher, Lisa Wallenburg, who championed this initiative.

Watch Christian & his teacher Lisa Wallenburg talk about #NoMoreEmptyDesks

You may contact Robin Cogan at robin.cogan@rutgers.edu  and access her story about starting #NoMoreEmptyDesks here.

Robin Cogan (School Nurse, Christian (Student) and Lisa Wallenberg (teacher)

Robin Cogan (School Nurse, Christian (Student) and Lisa Wallenberg (teacher)