In an event billed as “One Day Without Shoes,” you’d think students would actually, you know, go the day without wearing shoes. And you’d be wrong.
“We can’t let our kids do that,” said Meshea Matthews, dean of students at Hockaday. “It’s not safe.”
But isn’t that the point? That kids all over the world have to walk barefoot in a lot more dangerous territory than the finely manicured halls of an elite preparatory school? If the risk was too large, why not call the event “An Assembly Without Shoes”?
In all fairness, raising awareness about the extent of global poverty and the simple things children (and adults) have to do without every day is a good thing. I’m not asking children to go around in burlap sacks, weeping and gnashing their teeth for the poor. But don’t get so carried away in marketing your social activism that you can’t call a spade a spade. Jill DiIorio, shoemanitarian for Toms shoes (the sponsor of the event), said it best as she addressed the shoeless student body.
“It doesn’t matter if you take off your shoes for five minutes or the whole day,” she said. “What matters is that you’re showing support for kids all over the world who don’t have a pair of shoes.”
DiIorio called Hockaday, which has green and white Toms shoes as part of its uniform, “the leader of the Toms movement in Dallas.” The movement she is referring to is the mission of Toms: For every pair of Toms shoes that is purchased, another is donated to a needy child. She hopes the message of today’s morning assembly will reverberate beyond the campus grounds.
“I hope everyone who participated will share the Tom’s movement with their friends and family, and if they’re in the market for a new pair of shoes, I hope they choose Toms,” DiIorio said.